Swastika spray-painted on Rhode Island synagogue

May 23, 2016  

A red swastika was spray-painted at a synagogue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, reports the local WPRI-TV.

According to the report, the graffiti was found on Sunday and was widely condemned by local and state leaders.

Pawtucket Police have opened an investigation into the vandalism.

“This is the kind of thing that makes your whole body roil inside if you’re a Jew,” said David Pliskin, the president of Congregation Ohawe Sholam, the only Jewish house of worship in Pawtucket.

Pliskin added that the Orthodox congregation includes descendants of Holocaust survivors, to whom the swastika is a painful reminder.

“It’s like someone trying to stab you in the heart again,” he told WPRI.

Pliskin called the vandalism a hate crime, and said he doesn’t believe it was a childish prank.

“This person clearly had some knowledge,” he told the local television station. “A lot of people draw the swastika with a cross, but this person has actually done it the way it was done on the Nazi flag, with an ‘X’.”

The vandalism was immediately condemned by many, as the Mayors of Providence and Pawtucket called for a joint news conference Monday morning to address the issue of anti-Semitism in the area.

WPRI noted that this is one of several recent incidents of anti-Semitism in the area. Several blocks from the Pawtucket synagogue on Providence’s East Side, flyers were distributed in October that contained racist and anti-Semitic remarks, along with bags of a substance that turned out to be rice.

The flyers referred to solving “Jewish pollution.”

Anti-Semitism, which has been rampant throughout the world, has not skipped the United States.

Last month, swastikas were spray-painted at a park and an elementary school in Rockville, Maryland, a Washington, D.C., suburb with a large Jewish population.

In March, a synagogue in North Miami Beach was vandalized by a male on a bicycle who hurled a rock several times at the front door.

In another similar example, several synagogues in San Antonio, Texas, were vandalized by anti-Semitic graffiti last summer.

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