Two Nazi flags and two Iron Crosses were graffitied on the property of the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla synagogue in the city of Carmel, Indiana, in the US in the early hours of Saturday morning, in a severe and unsettling incident of antisemitic hate.
The graffiti was spray painted on a brick shed, housing the synagogue’s garbage container behind the synagogue itself, with the Nazi flag with its black swastika and red background graphically depicted on the back wall of the structure flanked by the two Iron Crosses, with another Nazi flag graffitied on the side wall.
The antisemitic attack has been condemned by US Vice President Mike Pence, both Indiana senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, Congresswoman Susan Brooks who represents the district, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett and others.
“Sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla; a beautiful synagogue in Carmel, Indiana where I have many good friends. Those responsible must be held accountable. These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end,” wrote Pence on Twitter.
Young said that the vandalism “was a hateful act of antisemitism that goes against everything America stands for.”
Continued Young, also on Twitter: “I’ve spoken with Rabbi Sendrow and members of the congregation, and I stand with them in condemning this ignorant and disgusting crime. Our nation’s diversity is a great attribute, not an undesirable flaw.”
Also taking to Twitter was Bennett, who said he was “Sending my support to the Jewish community in Carmel” and that “We are united in condemnation of this abhorrent attack,” adding his thanks to Pence for his support.
Mayor of Carmel Jim Brainard also condemned the attack, and said that the Carmel Police Department was already investigating the incident and that those responsible would be held accountable.
“As we are reminded each year during our city's Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, we must never forget and never stop fighting against the hatred that led to the murder of 6 million Jews. These images that represent the ideas that led to those crimes are not reflective of what our City stands for,” he said.
Congregation Shaarey Tefilla is a Conservative synagogue established in 1992, with 200 household members.
The congregation’s Rabbi Benjamin Sedrow said that the community was “deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our Congregation,” while a statement on behalf of the community said it had been “comforted by the outpouring of community and interfaith support” to the congregation.
“Intolerance, hatred, and violent acts against Jews are significant realities today. The response to this heinous act affirms that America is collectively outraged at these hateful acts in our neighbourhood,” said Sendrow.
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