The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is angered and disgusted by the acts of antisemitic graffiti and vandalism in our region yesterday, just days before the five-year commemoration of the Oct. 27, 2018 attack on three Jewish congregations in Pittsburgh.
Vandals spraypainted graffiti reading “Free Palestine from Pgh to Gaza” on Taylor Allderdice High School and vandalized several “Stand With Israel” signs. These incidents come on the heels of a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents following the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel that killed more than 1400. The location and nature of the vandalism suggests that the criminals were targeting Jewish areas, with the goal of blaming Jews for the actions of a foreign government—a typical antisemitic trope.
For a Jewish community still healing from the worst antisemitic attack in U.S. history in 2018 and now retraumatized by the worst single act of terrorism against Jews since the Holocaust, these acts of vandalism are particularly despicable. Vandalism targeting Jews is criminal hate speech, pure and simple. We condemn hate speech of any form, which has no place anywhere in Pittsburgh.
While these specific acts do not indicate any increased direct threat to our community, it is important that any acts of hate be reported immediately to ensure coordination among our Jewish institutions and with law enforcement. Incidents may be reported by calling 911 in case of a real threat or at jewishpgh.org.
As an organization on the front lines, working together with many other religious organizations, minority groups and other nonprofits to combat this hatred, we feel our community’s increasing alarm and fear. We cannot normalize or become inured to the proliferation of such heinous acts. We will continue to speak out against all forms of hatred, especially in our children’s learning environments, which should be places of physical and emotional safety, mutual respect, and decency.