Hate Graffiti Discovered on Florida, California Synagogues

  • May 1, 2008

In recent days, ADL has responded to incidents of hate graffiti discovered on synagogues in Florida and California:

In San Diego County, CA, vandals scrawled hate graffiti on a sign outside the Ner Tamid Synagogue in Poway sometime between April 27 and 28.The graffiti included symbols commonly associated with hate groups, including shorthand for "Heil Hitler."An award of $11,500 was offered by ADL, the San Diego County Crime Stoppers and the Hate Crime Reward Fund.

A Chabad synagogue in Parkland, Florida was spray-painted with swastikas, "Heil" and a nearby stop sign was defaced with the message "4 Hitler."The hate graffiti was discovered May 30 by a boy on his way to school.Police are investigating whether the incident may be related to a suspicious fire at another Chabad synagogue in Miami Beach, which was nearly destroyed in a blaze the previous week.

The League's regional offices in both states are working closely with law enforcement and community leaders as the investigations proceed.

Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL Florida Regional Director, spoke at a press conference following the attack on the Chabad of Parkland synagogue. He said it was too early to draw conclusions about who may have been responsible.

"It could be someone affiliated with a hate group, it could be teenagers.It's too early to know," he said, adding that symbols such as nooses and swastikas are being used more often in hate crimes across the country.

Mr. Rosenkranz was scheduled to speak at a May 19 public meeting coordinated by Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower on security strategies to protect religious institutions.

In San Diego, synagogue officials consulted with ADL before asking for the public's help in finding those responsible for the graffiti.

"The Anti-Defamation League is outraged whenever any house of worship is attacked and vandalized as Ner Tamid was this weekend," said Mark Dillon, local chairman of ADL's Civil Rights Committee. "It's important that our community stand up and show its opposition to this type of behavior."