‘Zionism is Nazism’ scrawled on Norwich synagogue

City was home to the first antisemitic blood libel in 1144


Anti-Jewish and anti-Israel graffiti was discovered on the wall of Norwich Synagogue over the weekend.

On the perimeter of the shul site, vandals wrote: “Zionism = Nazism, Isra’hell, apartheid. Tsiahal + Saitanyahu = Genocide”.

Tsiahal is the Hebrew acronym for the Israel Defence Force and Saitanyahu is a combination of Netanyahu and Satan.

The graffiti was spotted by a congregant and his children on Sunday morning, and he reported it to the council. 

The Jewish man, who wished to remain anonymous, told the JC: “I stopped in my tracks when I noticed the writing.

“I quickly ushered my wife and children along saying I’d catch up with them while I reread it again to try and take it in. I didn’t want them reading any more of it.

“I was quite shocked and saddened that they had targeted our lovely little community, and I didn’t really want to have to inform other members,” he said, suggesting how distressing it was for members of the community to see antisemitic graffiti on the wall of their building. 

The council painted over the graffiti on the weekend and removed it later in the week.

Norwich Synagogue is the only synagogue in the region. Home to Norwich Hebrew Congregation, the building sits in the shadow of Norwich Catholic Cathedral and, like many shuls, is not in clear view of passers-by. The community did not wish to comment on the incident. 

A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “The antisemitic graffiti seen on Norwich Synagogue is totally unacceptable. Our contractor painted over it as an initial temporary measure, before completely removing it today.”

According to the Weiner Holocaust Library, the first known case of the antisemitic blood libel emerged in Norwich in 1144 after a 12-year-old boy, William, was allegedly found murdered in the city. His death was unexplained, and there was no evidence linking Jews to the killing.

Around four years later, the monk Thomas of Monmouth visited Norwich. He claimed that the Jews of the town had tortured and killed William, prompting accusations against Jews of ritual murders of children to spread around the country.

These accusations were almost always followed by intense persecution and the murder of Jews in local communities.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive