Anti-Semitic graffiti daubed on shop fronts condemned as ‘senseless’

Anti-Semitic graffiti found daubed across several shop fronts and a synagogue in north London has been condemned as “disgraceful” and “senseless”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of “love and solidarity” to Jewish communities, while shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq also spoke out against the incident during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

The Jewish holy symbol alongside the numbers “9 11” was spray-painted in red and purple on several premises in the Hampstead and Belsize Park area, including South Hampstead Synagogue, on Saturday night.

The graffiti references an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews are responsible for the 9/11 terror attack, and was found less than two hours after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home in New York.

Police have said they are investigating the graffiti as a racially motivated hate crime after receiving reports of the vandalism at 11.30pm on Saturday.

The graffiti was seen being removed from shop windows on Sunday afternoon.

Anti-semitic graffiti during Hanukkah in London
Graffiti sprayed onto the outside of the South Hampstead Synagogue in north London (PA)

Mr Corbyn said on Twitter: “How terrible that Chanukah started with a message of hope and on this last day we face antisemitic graffiti in London and horrific stabbings at a party in New York.

“We stand with all our communities facing hate. We send love and solidarity to Jewish communities around the world.”

Ms Siddiq condemned the vandalism as “unbelievable, senseless, disgusting anti-Semitism at the heart of our community”.

She added: “I am in touch with Camden Council and Borough Commander (Raj) Kohli regarding clean-up and attempting to find these criminals – we must all stay vigilant in order to continue the fight against this hatred.”

And Sir Keir said: “I agree with Tulip. This graffiti is disgusting and we must stand with the Jewish community against antisemitism.

“If you have any information about who may be responsible for this crime, please contact the Camden police on 101.”

Liberal Democrat MEP Luisa Porritt said “such hatred cannot be allowed to fester”.

“That this was done during a religious festival makes it all the more disgraceful”, she added.

The Metropolitan Police said no arrests have yet been made.

I agree with Tulip. This graffiti is disgusting and we must stand with the Jewish community against antisemitism.

If you have any information about who may be responsible for this crime, please contact the Camden police on 101. https://t.co/FkK88vBcRQ

— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) December 29, 2019

Inspector Kev Hailes said: “This is clearly a concerning incident and one we are taking seriously.

“We have liaised with our partners in order to remove the graffiti and various inquiries are under way to find who is responsible.

“Officers will be on patrol throughout the area in order to provide some reassurance to local communities. Please approach us if you have any questions or concerns.”

Police have asked anyone who saw anything suspicious on Saturday night to call them on 101.

Anti-semitic graffiti during Hanukkah in London
A council cleaner removes anti-Semitic graffiti in Belsize Park, north London (PA)

The incident comes after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home north of New York on Saturday night.

A knifeman attacked a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, before fleeing in a vehicle at around 10pm, police said.

The attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month.

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