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An oil analyst at a U.S. commodities trading firm was fired after a video circulating on social media showed him in a tense exchange with a bystander, apparently covering posters depicting Israeli hostages in Gaza.
According to his LinkedIn page, Kurush Mistry worked at Freepoint Commodities for nine years. He previously worked at Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Lehman Brothers.
A video posted on social media late last week showed Mistry pasting leaflets on a lamppost and holding signs reading “Israel is an apartheid state” and “The occupiers must face consequences.”
He was also filmed making what appeared to be an obscene gesture toward a person identifying himself as a Jewish American while arguing on a sidewalk. He and a woman said to the person, “Go back to your country.”
In a statement after Mistry’s video went viral, Freepoint said it was “aware of the recent anti-Semitic incident reported on social media and the individual involved is no longer associated with Freepoint.”
Two people familiar with the matter identified the person in the video as Mistry and confirmed that he was fired from Freepoint. Mistry could not immediately be reached for comment.
Connecticut-based Freepoint operates in the energy, metals and agricultural markets. It was founded in 2011 by David Messer and other former executives of Sempra Commodities, a once-leading commodities trading house. According to his website, Messer is also chairman of the board of governors of Shalem College, a private elementary school in Jerusalem that was founded in 2013.
“We welcome the diversity of views and opinions of our employees, but Freepoint does not tolerate discrimination and hate speech against any group,” the company said.
The incident shows how the impact of Israel’s war on Hamas is ripping through the business world from college campuses that have become a focus of opposing viewpoints on the conflict. Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents were reported around the world as Israel bombed the densely populated Gaza Strip in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attack.
Law firms have withdrawn offers to students over their participation in groups criticizing Israel over the conflict and called on universities to do more to address student anti-Semitism.
Last month, senior U.S. leaders and financiers expressed outrage at a statement by groups at Harvard University that “held the Israeli regime solely responsible for all of the unfolding violence.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States has quadrupled since the outbreak of war.
Amid increasing reports of threats and violence against Jewish and Muslim students, academics from some of the country’s leading institutions will meet next week to explore ways to defuse tensions.