East London hit by anti-Israel graffiti

By Leon Symons, May 22, 2008

Police in East London have appealed for witnesses and information following a rash of anti-Israel graffiti which hit two boroughs last week.

A number of sites in Hackney and Tower Hamlets were attacked with blue and silver paint. Almost all of them carried slogans, such as “Jihad is the only solution for Israel”, “Jihad for Israel” and “Jihad to Tel Aviv”.

Graffiti seen on a wall in Walthamstow

Detective Inspector Rob Kidd, who is leading the investigation at Limehouse Community Safety Unit in Tower Hamlets, said: “We are taking these incidents of graffiti seriously and we are looking to trace anyone who may have seen those responsible.

“The graffiti undoubtedly caused offence and we would also like to reassure the Jewish community that we are working hard to track down the offenders. Anyone with information should contact us as soon as possible.”

Graffiti was sprayed on buildings, walls, phone kiosks and pavements. In Hackney, about 16 daubings were concentrated in an area around Clapton Common, Stamford Hill and Braydon Road. In Tower Hamlets, graffiti had been sprayed on walls in Limehouse.

While some media reports suggested that the perimeter walls of a number of strictly Orthodox synagogues had been attacked, the Community Security Trust said that was not the case.

Mark Gardner, communications director of the CST, said: “Security is already tight at synagogues due to the relatively high level of terrorist threat that we have sadly faced for some years now. These daubings have shown exactly why we need that security, which depends upon partnership between police, local communities and CST. The police reaction has been prompt and professional, as has the response from local council clean-up teams who have removed the graffiti as quickly as possible in order to reduce community tension and fear.”  

All the sites were being examined for forensic evidence and CCTV footage was being viewed. Hackney police said they had recovered spray paint.Hackney Partnership Superintendent Alun Goode said: “Hackney police takes all incidents of a racist or antisemitic nature very seriously and our CSU has been investigating all these incidents.”

Anyone who can assist should call Limehouse CSU on 020 7275 4778.

    Last updated: 8:17am, May 28 2008