At least 30 gravestones were desecrated with swastikas and anti-Semitic messages at the Hebrew Cemetery in Fall River, Mass., over the weekend.
Local police say they launched a hate crime investigation after a cemetery maintenance worker discovered the vandalism, including headstones that were pushed over as well as headstones tagged with anti-Semitic phrases and symbols written in black marker.
The phrases included “expel the Jews,” “ethnic cleansing,” “heil Hitler,” “Hitler was right,” “Jewish bastard” and “Oy vey! This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Several headstones had the anti-Semitic slur “kike” written on them.
“The people responsible went out of their way to pick a Jewish cemetery and deface it with real vitriol, real hateful language,” said the Anti-Defamation League of New England’s regional director, Robert Trestan. “The language that they chose sent a message, not just to the families whose loved ones are there but to the entire Jewish community.”
At least two gravestones were defaced with the phrase “The Day of the Rope.” That phrase seemingly refers to a novel that imagines a violent race war that leads to the extermination of Jews and other minorities. The book, called the “bible of the racist right” by the FBI, has helped fuel extremist attacks like Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing.
The vandalism is part of an uptick in anti-Semitic acts in Massachusetts, from anti-Semitic fliers being distributed in communities to graffiti at middle and high schools and universities.
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Source: Religion News Service