Indiana Synagogue Vandalized With Swastika Graffiti
An Indiana synagogue was vandalized on July 28 with graffiti depicting a Nazi flag and two iron crosses.
The synagogue, Congregation Shaarey Tefila in Carmel, Indiana, told CNN that they had no prior instances of threats and harassment and that the vandalism did not impede upon Shabbat services that morning.
“We are deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our congregation,” Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow told CNN. “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 neighborhoods.”
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard denounced the vandalism as “hatred” that is not welcome in Carmel.
“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,” Brainard said. “These images that represent the ideas that led to those crimes are not reflective of what our City stands for.”
Vice President Mike Pence also condemned the vandalism in a tweet:
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. https://t.co/0h6rKPilda
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) July 29, 2018
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and American Jewish Committee (AJC) also weighed in:
Appalling display of anti-Semitism after vandals desecrate a synagogue in Carmel, Indiana. We're working with law enforcement to find the perpetrators in this particularly heinous incident. https://t.co/U3iDxKIR8I
— ADL Midwest (@ADLMidwest) July 29, 2018
Outrageous: an Indiana synagogue was vandalized with Nazi graffiti. We stand in solidarity with Congregation Shaarey Tefilla and the Jewish community of Carmel, Indiana. pic.twitter.com/WvIc516slp
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) July 29, 2018
Debby Barton Grant, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, criticized the fact that there is no hate crime law in the state in a Facebook post.
“I’m disgusted and furious tonight that this has happened and that my beautiful State of Indiana is one of only five states in the country that lacks a hate crime statute,” Barton Grant wrote.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) has called for the state legislature to pass a hate crime law, stating: “I think it’s long overdue that we move forward as a state. I want to be one of 46, not one of five.”
In the past, hate crime laws have been unable to pass the state legislature due to some Republicans arguing that it creates “special protected classes” or that the proposed laws would be applicable to hate crimes against certain people based on political beliefs.
Police are investigating the incident.