On Saturday, one of Seattle’s largest synagogues spent the day cleaning up Holocaust denial graffiti. Its leaders said that this is the first time it has been subjected to such flagrant anti-Semetic attack.
“Holocaust is fake history!” with the letter “S” replaced by a dollar sign, read the graffiti. It comes amidst a rise in bomb threats and vandalism to Jewish community centers and cemeteries across the country.
Anti-semitic attacks on the rise:
Senior Rabbi Daniel Weiner, of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, told NBC News: “There were two things we felt: shock and sadness, and resistance. We were shocked that this had reached our own community and that such things, such stereotypes had become frequent. But we are also adamant to not give in to the intolerance and growing climate of hate in Seattle and our nation, and will resist.”
The message was spotted at 5 a.m. on Friday by an off-duty Seattle police officer who was walking in the area. He immediately contacted the synagogue and opened an investigation. The case is now being investigated by the Seattle Police Department’s bias crimes unit, police have increased their patrols and the search for suspects continues.
A neighbor of the temple saw the graffiti and put up a bed sheet with “Love Wins” sign written on it to obscure it, according to Weiner, but he took the message down after thanking the neighbor personally, he said: “We wanted people to confront this reality. It is difficult to pinpoint a direct causative link between these crimes and politics, but I know that those who remained silent before are now empowered to lash out at the communities they have an issue with.”
A united community:
The synagogue was founded in 1889, it’s one of the biggest in the Pacific Northwest with more than 1,500 families.
On Friday, the house of worship faced a scare from a suspicious package left on its doorstep. Leaders called the Seattle police to investigate who cordoned off the perimeter and found a book donated to the temple inside.
Seattle authorities stood by the temple and strongly condemned the hate message. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash stated that she introduced a House resolution calling on the Department of Justice to fully fund hate crime investigations affecting Jewish, Sikh, Indian and Muslim-Americans and other communities of color.
Weiner added that this latest display of anti-Semitism has made vigilance necessary, stating that the synagogue had already increased its security amid the rise in anti-Semetic attacks. “We intend to turn this into something good and not back down from supporting one another in other minority communities.”