More Jewish Cemetery Vandalism Sparks Concern in Massachusetts

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 file photo,toppled and damaged headstones rest on the ground at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia. The Anti-Defamation League found an increase in cases of anti-Semitic intimidation and vandalism in 2016, evidence that anti-Jewish bias intensified during the election. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

There has been another disturbing incident of vandalism in a Jewish cemetery – this time at Hebrew Cemetery in Fall River, Massachusetts. Dozens of defaced gravestones were discovered by a cemetery worker on Sunday. An investigation into the vandalism is ongoing.


Per The Herald News:

Dozens of gravestones were tagged with the anti-Semitic graffiti, apparently scrawled in black marker. About 10 gravestones were defaced with swastikas. On one gravestone was written the words “heil Hitler,” and on another, “Hitler was right.”

A veteran’s gravestone was one of several defaced with an ethnic slur.

Above the menorah carved into one gravestone was the phrase, “Oy vey! This is MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

This is the sort of thing that makes me see red on multiple levels. First, defacement of any sort in any cemetery is disgusting and disrespectful — both to those buried there and their loved ones. Second, the seeming uptick in such occurrences in Jewish cemeteries points to an alarming rise in anti-Semitic sentiment and in the willingness of certain scumsuckers to act on it.

One thing that is certain from the messages the culprit(s) in this incident left behind: They’re intending to draw a connection between their hateful acts and the President:

“If that was written on a gravestone, then that person is connecting the slogan of our current president with his own anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Jacqueline Romm Satlow, who oversees the UMass Dartmouth Center For Jewish Culture, who upon learning of the incident said she was sad and disheartened.


Whether that’s because they are actual Trump supporters — or wish to leave the impression that they are — remains to be seen. Last year, several incidents initially thought to be borne of anti-Semitism were later revealed to be borne of pure idiocy.  And I’m certain I’m not the only one who saw the “This is MAGA country” comment and was reminded of the comments allegedly shouted at Jussie Smollett at the time of his “attack” in January — which turned out to be not so much what actually happened.

Did these culprits take their “inspiration” from the Smollett incident? Were they inspired by anti-Semitism and attempting to harass and intimidate the Jewish community? Or were they attempting to leave that impression and sow further discord in an already tense world?  Hopefully, they’ll be caught and we’ll get an answer to that at some point.



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