Jewish groups condemn series of antisemitic incidents in Washington, DC area

The front of Walt Whitman High School

“We cannot normalize or become inured to the proliferation of such heinous acts,” several leaders wrote in a joint statement.

WASHINGTON – Several major Jewish organizations have joined in condemning a recent spate of antisemitic incidents in the Washington, DC, area..

Jewish Federation of Greater Washington CEO Gil Preuss and the heads of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in Washington, the American Jewish Committee Washington and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington issued a joint statement saying they were “angered and disgusted by the additional acts of antisemitic graffiti and vandalism in our region this weekend.”

Antisemitic incidents in Washington

They noted that antisemitic symbols were found Friday at a bus stop bench at Montgomery Mall. On Saturday, “horrific antisemitic statements were found spray painted on the Walt Whitman High School sign,” the statement reads. They added that these incidents came on the heels of graphic hateful graffiti found on the Bethesda Trolley Trail just weeks ago, and that antisemitic vandalism and graffiti were also recently reported at the Rock Creek Park Trail in Washington.

“While these specific acts do not indicate any increased direct threat to our community, it is important that any acts of hate be reported immediately to ensure rapid municipal response and remediation,” they wrote.

“As organizations on the front lines and working together to combat this hatred, we feel our community’s increasing alarm and fear,” they continued. “Our region is known for celebrating and respecting diversity and is home to one of the largest Jewish populations nationwide. We cannot normalize or become inured to the proliferation of such heinous acts.

Westfield Montgomery Mall (credit: LENINA LIBERA/CC BY-SA 4.0 ( WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

“Let us continue to speak out against all forms of hatred, especially in our children’s learning environments, which should be places of physical and emotional safety, mutual respect and decency. We thank our elected officials and community leaders for continuing to speak out, and our stellar law enforcement agencies for working diligently to apprehend all of those who are desecrating and violating the sanctity of our public spaces.”

The statement concluded, “We will continue to stand strong and united in the face of antisemitism and combat it explicitly, and we will ensure that hatred – in any form – never hinders our efforts and ability to build vibrant Jewish life for ourselves and our children.”

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