AP NEWS

Jewish center in northern Virginia vandalized with swastikas for second time since 2017

October 6, 2018

Swastikas were discovered Saturday morning painted on the outside of a Jewish center in northern Virginia, the second time it’s been hit since 2017.

The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia in Fairfax was vandalized with several swastikas overnight, hardly 18 months since being targeted with similar anti-Semitic graffiti.

An employee discovered the swastikas at around 8 a.m., and footage recorded by a nearby surveillance camera captured the incident occurring a few hours earlier, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement.

Authorities have released surveillance images showing a person painting the swastikas at around 4:30 a.m., but the individual’s face was obfuscated at the time of the crime.

“Detectives are reviewing evidence collected at the scene and are working diligently in hopes of identifying the suspect and placing charges,” authorities said in a statement.

A total of 19 swastikas were spray-painted on the Jewish center’s exterior overnight, said David Yaffe, president of the center’s board of directors, local radio station WTOP reported.

“As many of us recognize, these acts do not represent the community around the J of the community in Northern Virginia,” Mr. Yaffee and Jeff Dannick, JCC executive director, said in a statement. “The J as a whole, and particularly through the focused efforts of our Committee for a Just and Caring Community, will continue to participate as a positive force in both the Jewish and wider communities.”

The previous incident occurred in April 2017, on the first day of Passover, when swastikas and the slogan “Hitler was right” were painted on the building’s exterior. A nearby church was similarly targeted at the time, and police arrested a man the following day based on surveillance footage.

Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat and former vice presidential hopeful, condemned the latest graffiti as an example of an “insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism” both locally and throughout the country.

“We must meet it with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity. We cannot allow hate to fester,” tweeted Mr. Kaine, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate during the 2016 race.

“Way too many politicians in Virginia are way too complacent about the rise of white supremacist violence and anti-Semitism,” echoed Mark Herring, the state’s attorney general. “The threat is real, it’s growing, and we have to take a stand,” tweeted Mr. Herring, a Democrat.

The JCC of Northern Virginia is a nonprofit organization “a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a strong and vibrant Jewish community through meaningful opportunities to engage in Jewish life,” according to its website.

AP RADIO
Update hourly