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London Synagogues Sprayed With Graffiti

May 19, 2008

The British capital's ultra-Orthodox community was the brunt of anti-Semitic graffiti last week, with 40 incidents over three days. Slogans such as "Jihad to Israel" and "Jihad to Tel Aviv" were removed by the local council.

Vandals sprayed shops, pavements and walls near four synagogues in the Clapton Common and Stamford Hill area of northeast London.

"Hackney is a tolerant place and we've never seen anything like this before" said Jules Pipe, the mayor of Hackney Borough. "Our graffiti removal teams are working with the police to remove it as quickly as possible to minimize any further distress."

David Greenwald from the Belz Bet Hamedrash Synagogue in Clapton Common told the Evening Standard newspaper on Thursday that the close-knit community was shocked.
"This morning I went to synagogue to pray and saw the writing all over everywhere - walls, shops, traffic lights," he said. "Everyone feels scared. There has never been anything like this before, but now we are worried."

Another community member said: "It makes us feel that we are in exile. It could be kids doing it, but even so, it shows something."

The other synagogues targeted belonged to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, Atereth Zvi Beit Hamidrash and Satmar Beit Hamidrash. On Thursday additional racist graffiti appeared in Bethnal Green and Limehouse areas of east London.

"Obviously the timing of this graffiti suggests that it is deliberately tied to Israeli Independence Day. These are slogans that are sadly quite familiar and have appeared on leaflets in previous years distributed by Islamist groups in the UK," said Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust, which provides security, training and advice for the protection of British Jews and represents them to police, government and media on anti-Semitism and security issues.

"We are already on a relatively high state of alert due to pronouncements by pro-al-Qaida supporters relating to attacks on Jews. This adds to the picture of threat," Gardner said.

Our comment:

Zionism continues to arouse the anger of non-Jews, bringing danger upon Jews worldwide. This highlights the importance of publicizing our opposition to Zionism. If we keep it a secret, how can we expect the non-Jewish world to know about it?