Canadian teen wanted for anti-Semitic graffiti

Calgary police have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for an 18-year-old male over a slew of spray-painted anti-Semitic messages.

The racist graffiti on mailboxes, signs at synagogues and a memorial for Holocaust survivors, which surfaced last November, included swastikas and the words “kill Jews” and “six million more.”

The teen is facing charges of mischief to property, as well as hate-related charges of mischief to a place of religious worship and inciting public hatred.

Canadian youth protection laws prohibit naming the suspect, who was 17 when the offenses occurred.

Police believe the teen may have ties to local racist groups.

“We believe that he is involved with racist groups within this city,” Police Supt. Trevor Daroux told the Calgary Herald. “I won’t say which one because I won’t give them the credibility.”

The Calgary Jewish Community Council praised the police for their diligence in the case.

“These charges send a very strong message that Calgary does not tolerate anti-Semitism or racism of any kind,” Adam Singer, the council’s vice president, told CBC News.

Anti-Semitic taggers strike in San Fernando Valley

Spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti over a wide area in upscale neighborhoods of Encino and Tarzana are being investigated as possible hate crimes by Los Angeles police.

Early Thursday morning, residents discovered the vandalism, which included such insults as “F… Jews” and “Burn Jews,” painted in front of four homes along a two-mile stretch of walls along Wells Drive, between Tampa and Louise avenues.At this point, police are not certain of the perpetrators’ motivation and one of the more heavily targeted homes is owned by a non-Jewish family.

Judy Silver, a neighbor whose home was not affected, told TV station KCAL9, “I’m frightened. I don’t know if it’s a sign of the times or if it’s just kids, because we’re surrounded by two schools.”

Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that her office had received a large volume of calls by citizens expressing their outrage.

ADL associate director Matthew Friedman said that “A hate crime like this targets not just those who live in the home, it targets the entire community.”Police request anyone with possible information to contact West Valley detectives Foster Rains or Andrew Purdy at (818) 374-7730.

vandalized wall

Paris Jewish Center Destroyed by Arson

A Jewish community center in Paris that serves kosher meals to the poor was set on fire early Sunday morning. The soup kitchen, a converted synagogue on the ground floor of a five-story residential building on the Rue Popincourt in Paris’ 11th District was partially destroyed. Anti-Semitic graffiti, Nazi symbols and references to Islam were found on the center’s walls.

The police found scrawled in red magic marker on the walls: “Without the Jews the world would be happy.”

“The fire department reacted quickly and the fire did not spread to the rest of the building — there could have been victims,” said Paris Police Chief Jean-Paul Proust.

“We know it’s criminal,” he added. “There are Nazi signs and anti-Semitic inscriptions all over the place.”

“France will act with extreme severity against these anti-Semitic arsonists,” said French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin while visiting the burned-out Jewish center.

President Jacque Chirac condemned “with force this unspeakable act” and expressed his solidarity with the personnel of the center and with the whole of the Jewish community.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced the allocation of 300,000 Euros to fortify Parisian Jewish schools, synagogues and nursing homes in Paris with video surveillance and concrete barriers.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Groupe des Partisans de la Guerre Sainte Islamique (Group of Partisans of the Holy Islamic War) took responsibility for the destruction of the Jewish center on an Islamist Web site: “A group of young moudjahadine [fighters] set fire to the Jewish temple in Paris at 0400 hours in response to racist acts commited by Jews in France against Islam and Muslims, and also to makr the 35th anniversary of the fire that ravaged the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem,” a reference to an Aug. 21, 1969, fire set by an Australian Christian man that damaged a number of religious artifacts at the religious site.

Police and anti-terrorist officers are investigating the possibility that the perpetrators might be “more local” since the center was not one of the big, symbolic Jewish institutions in Paris.

An anti-terrorist officer told Reuters, “We’re on a more national track. This is not an emblematic target for a group based in Dubai or Egypt.”

Police are waiting for expert results from inspection of the crime scene.

Housed in a former synagogue once used by Greek and Turkish Jewish immigrants, the center has largely served as a social club and soup kitchen since the 1960s.

The center was not permanently guarded and there were no security cameras near the institution, a community security official said. A police night patrol that circulates in the area had passed the building some two hours before the attack but noticed nothing suspicious, he added.

On Tuesday, Israel demanded action from the French government.

CRIF, the Council of Jewish institutions of France expressed to the French government its demand “to put a stop to and condemn those responsible for this odious crime that disfigures France.”

Claude Zaffran, the rabbi of a synagogue around the corner from the community center, said he had the “impression of watching the same movie, the same story. More than just declarations and discussions, there should be some strong action to put an end to this succession of anti-Semitic acts. Without exaggerating, I can’t help but be afraid now.”

Zaffran told The Journal he was persuaded that the police are doing their job.

“We know they are doing the maximum. It’s at the judiciary level that we have a real problem. We have the laws and they are not applied. We are disgusted. What can we do? The judges are independent and they make their decisions. We don’t know what to do anymore,” he said.

Asked what he wanted to communicate to a concerned Jewish community in the United States, he answered with a tremor in his voice, “Don’t worry. Our enemies should know that if they think they are going to see the Jew of old, crouching in a corner, they are wrong. We will not lower our head, nor will we lower our arms. We will do what’s necessary.”

Jewish Telegraphic Agency contributed to this report.

Carole Raphaelle Davis lives in Los Angeles and Nice, France. She can be
reached at

Challenging Hate

Two teenage boys were arrested Sun., Sept. 24, in connection with the ransacking of classrooms and painting of swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls of the West Valley Hebrew Academy in Woodland Hills.

Police officers, responding to a call from a neighbor who apparently heard glass breaking, found the two running from a classroom. They were charged with burglary, vandalism and hate crimes.

“I feel saddened, shocked, frustrated and upset,” says Rabbi Zvi Block, principal of West Valley Hebrew Academy, which offers schooling from kindergarten to eighth grade.

“The school children feel violated,” the rabbi continued. “To have a swastika painted on your siddur [prayer book], it caused some children to cry.”

The two boys, ages 14 and 15, are accused of breaking into and ransacking 14 classrooms. Police found several windows broken and computers spray painted. “Kill Jews” was also found painted on part of the school. The amount of damage is estimated at $75,000-$80,000, according to Rabbi Block.

The vandalism of the school comes one year after a white supremacist attacked the North Valley Jewish Community Center, wounding students and teachers at the center and killing a postal worker nearby.Neither juvenile is a known member of a white supremacist group. The two were living in a nearby “Sober Living House,” a home for wayward youth, according to Officer Jason Lee.

“I think this shows that the community is not immune to anti-Semitism,” says Aaron Levinson, director of the Valley office for the Anti-Defamation League.

In the aftermath of the attack, neighbors gathered to help prepare the school for the next day’s classes.”We would have never been able to open the school without them,” says Block.

“There is a groundswell of support,” continues the rabbi, who adds that local businesses have offered to help in the repair of the building and the computers. The school has also received $5,000 from an anonymous donor.

Ninety-eight percent of the school’s 200 students attended classes on Monday, according to Block. “I believe it is a testament to the courage our parents have.”

“I spoke with the students. I told the kids there is a lot more good in the world then evil,” says the rabbi.During a school assembly, Block told the students, “How do you fight back? By attending classes and learning Torah better and being more Jewish. They wanted to disrupt class, to close the school. We beat them.”