A 100-year old Jewish cemetery was defaced in Michigan on Monday, hours before President Trump’s rally was to take place in the city. Several headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids were found vandalized with pro-Trump slogans including ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP’, written all over.
Uncertain whether there was a specific anti-semitic tone to the act, the cemetery owned by the Congregation Ahavas Israel featured multiple stone slabs that were spray-painted in red, each with a letter to spell out “Trump” and “MAGA,” referring to “Make America Great Again.” Presumed to have happened over the weekend, before the Monday rally.
Rabbi David Krishef told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “It’s Halloween weekend, there was nothing spray-painted that indicated anything specifically anti-Semitic. Whoever did this may or may not have known that this was a Jewish cemetery…I don’t want to blow this up into a known and definite incident of anti-Semitism. We don’t know that it was.”
In another instance on Mischief night, wherein teens and young adults usually venture out in groups egging property and throwing toilet paper, a clear case of anti-semitism was found on Sunday in New Jersey. Residents in the town of Woodcliff Lake witnessed a series of Anti-Semitic and racist graffiti scribbled on their streets, including the word ‘Jews’ written with chalk on the roads, and Swastika symbols illustrated elsewhere.
This incident, if deemed anti-semitic, will not be a first for the city, Last year, the city’s Reform synagogue, Temple Emanuel, was vandalized with neo-Nazi posters by an extremist group, including one that read “A crusade against Semite led subhumans.”
In a tweet on Monday, after discovering the incident, the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus blamed Trump over his failure to condemn White supremacists on several occasions, posting, “He (Trump) has sided with antisemites, white supremacists, racists, and bigots of all kinds. Now, our country is paying the price. Tomorrow, we will end it.”
Currently under investigation by the Anti Defamation League, Carolyn Normandin, regional director of ADL Michigan said, “It was definitely vandalism and it was definitely political in nature but we have no reason to call this straight-up anti-Semitism because there were no anti-Semitic symbols on the gravestones that were vandalized.”
She continued saying, “We’re taking it seriously because it was a Jewish cemetery and there were no other cemeteries or communal buildings in the area that were vandalized at the same time. Why did the vandals choose this cemetery?”