Thirty homes on the far west side of Madison, Wisconsin, were vandalized Friday night, spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas and “F*** Jews,” obscene drawings, and KKK references.
Residents reported the graffiti Saturday morning, with police saying that some 30 homes were involved. Thus far no suspects have been reported, no residents noticing any potential suspects Friday night when the vandalism occurred.
The damage is estimated by police to be perhaps more than “tens of thousands of dollars,” and thus a felonious offense. The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
The graffiti consisted of offensive words and symbols painted on houses, garage doors, cars and mailboxes, police said. Most of the damage was done in the area west of Gammon Road, east of High Point Road and north of Mineral Point Road.
The graffiti included some swastikas and anti-semitic expressions, along with derogatory words directed toward women and minorities.
“While some of the things that were written or painted are troubling,” MPD Officer David Dexheimer said, “we don’t know that that was specifically targeted to a particular victim.”
PJ Media’s Avner Zarmi notes that while authorities are as of yet unsure whether or not these “troubling” messages constitute a “hate crime,” the neighbors “felt a little more certain of the nature of the graffiti than the police.”
“Everybody in the neighborhood is pretty upset. It was of course extremely disturbing to me,” said Jim Stein, 18-year resident of the area and president of the local Jewish Federation. “This is anti-Semitic to the extent that people feel comfortable equating Jewish people or the Jewish religion with scatological or vulgar language or the sexual parts of people’s bodies.”
Stein’s car was vandalized and his neighbor’s garage door had “F*** Jews” spray-painted on it, with a swastika painted on the pavement below.
“To me this reeks of anti-Semitism,” he said, “and that is an important wake-up call for the city of Madison.”
Zarmi provides some context for the rising trend of anti-Semitism (often euphemistically called anti-Zionism) in the states:
The incident in Madison can be seen as just the latest in a series of mounting anti-Semitic incidents around the country, in concert with growing trends around the world. For example, to name only a few, in December, a man screaming “I want to kill the Jew!” invaded the world headquarters of the Lubavitcher Hasidim in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he stabbed a yeshiva student visiting from Israel in the face before police were able to shoot him. Also in December, garages and synagogues were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti in West Rogers Park, a heavily Jewish neighborhood of Chicago, IL. In September of last year, a yeshiva in Lakewood, NJ, was broken into by vandals, who defaced the study hall with swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols. In August, 60-year-old Rabbi Joseph Raksin was shot to death in Miami, FL, while on his way to a local synagogue, reportedly by two African-American “juvenile delinquents”; also in August, a 45-year-old Jewish woman was attacked and injured by a “juvenile delinquent” spewing anti-Semitic abuse in Crown Heights.
Anti-Semitism often disguises itself as “anti-Zionism,” but, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, noted in a recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, “[T]he policies of the state of Israel are not made in kosher supermarkets in Paris, or in Jewish cultural institutions in Brussels and Mumbai. The targets in those cities were not Israeli. They were Jewish.”