Shops, synagogues and restaurants in London were tagged with what officials are calling anti-Semitic graffiti over the weekend in a small crime spree that left the Jewish community there shaken.
CNN reports that London police are investigating the spate of taggings, most of which featured a six-pointed Star of David over the numbers “911,” an apparent reference to the September 11, 2001 attacks that brought down the World Trade Center in New York City. Taken together, the graffiti seems to blame the Jewish people or the state of Israel for terrorism within the United States — a conspiracy theory that has festered in the dark corners of the Internet.
Local news organizations also pointed out that the “911” could be a reference to Kristallnacht, the Nazi Party’s organized attack on Jewish-owned businesses and Jewish neighborhoods that brough the German oppression of Jews to the forefront on November 9, 1938.
Oliver Cooper, a local politician whose district was affected, tweeted photos of the hateful messages on Sunday. He added later that the graffiti popped up in at least nine locations. City workers are removing it as “quickly and sensitively” as possible.
Sickened by the anti-Semitic graffiti on walls all over Hampstead and Belsize Park this morning. All decent people across Britain stand with our Jewish community – and we must move heaven and earth to eradicate this racist hatred, which was unimaginable just a few years ago. pic.twitter.com/Pfr8ZBIJax
— Oliver Cooper (@OliverCooper) December 29, 2019
“My first reaction was shock and horror,” Cooper added in an interview with local media. “I’ve had to report anti-Semitic graffiti in Hampstead a number of times before, including by a banned neo-Nazi group, but I have never seen anything approaching this extent.”
“South Hampstead Synagogue was among the premises targeted, with reports made to police from 23:30 GMT on Saturday,” the BBC reports. “Police are treating it as a racially motivated hate crime.”
The vandalism, the BBC adds, was carried out the week of Hanukkah, but no arrests have been made and it does not appear police have reliable information to pursue.
London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, made a statement to media on Sunday, telling reporters that the graffiti “makes me sick to my stomach” and that “anti-Semitism like this…has no place anywhere and certainly not in London.”
But anti-Semitism has clearly been on the rise in the United Kingdom as it has been in the United States. Khan’s own Labour Party just suffered a monumental, epic loss to the Conservative Party in the latest Parliamentary elections there after Labour pressed the openly anti-Semitic Jeremy Corbyn into service as their leader. Under Corbyn, anti-Semitism has not only been accepted as practice within many of the U.K.’s more progressive circles, it’s been pushed out into the open. Corbyn himself has allied with terrorists and expressed sympathy for murderous international organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that seek to eliminate the state of Israel altogether.
The vandalism in London came the same day as an apparent anti-Semite charged into a Hanukkah party in suburbs of New York City, wielding a machete and wounding at least five partygoers, two of whom remain in critical or serious condition. That attack came at the tail end of a month of anti-Semitic incidents in New York City and the surrounding areas — at least one attack per day for the last week, and several violent attacks since November.