Hundreds of Jewish graves in Ohio vandalised in ‘vile’ attack

A Jewish cemetary in Canada was also vandalised this week, with pebbles arranged into swastikas


President Biden has condemned the “vile” desecration of nearly 200 Jewish graves at two cemeteries in Ohio, saying he is committed to holding those responsible accountable “to the full extent of the law”.

176 gravestones were found vandalised by the Jewish Federation of Concinnati on Monday. The Federation shared that the vandalism has left the community “heartbroken,” writing on social media that they were “deeply saddened and outraged”.

Sue Susskind, executive director of the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, told CNN that the vandalism was “horrendous”. “I’ve never felt anything like that in my life,” she said. Some of the tombstones desecrated date back to the late 1800s.

Most of the graves at Tifereth Israel and Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Cemeteries were found face down. This has made it difficult to notify the affected families, as police have recommended the graves not be touched.

Families of those buried at Tifereth Israel and Beth Hamedrash Hagadol have had to come to check whether their relatives’ graves were victims of the vandalism. One resident told CNN he felt a “combination of anger and sadness,” and a “feeling of being violated”.

Antisemitism across the US has “skyrocketed” since October 7. Justin Kirschner, Cincinnati regional director at the American Jewish Committee, stated on Tuesday that “this incident is unfortunately part of a rising and unacceptable trend of Jewish sites being targeted by antisemitic hate in recent years—sadly, our community is not immune.” He continued: “We cannot allow this to be normalized,” he said. “Our broader Cincinnati community must come together to stomp out this hate.”

According to Susskind, the FBI have been called in to look into the vandalism, which is being investigated as a hate crime.

This comes as gravestones in a cemetery in Hampstead, Montreal, were vandalised this week, with pebbles on gravestones arranged into swastikas.

Hampstead Mayor Jeremy Levi condemned the vandalism, calling it “abhorrent and revolting”.

B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish advocacy group, said “this is not an isolated incident but part of a disturbing pattern of unchecked and unmitigated antisemitism plaguing the city”. They continued: “The Jewish community in Montreal deserves safety and respect, yet we are repeatedly confronted with blatant acts of antisemitism that undermine Canadian values.”

There has also been an increase in antisemitism across Canada since October 7, with antisemitic incidents doubling from 2022 to 2023.

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