Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecrated
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[February 27, 2017]
(Reuters) - About 100 headstones at
a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia have been knocked over, police said on
Sunday, in the latest apparent vandalism incident at a Jewish burial
ground in the United States.
A Mount Carmel Cemetery visitor called police on Sunday morning to say
the gravestones of three of his relatives had been toppled, police said
in a statement. Officers found about 100 others knocked down. The
incident apparently took place after dark on Saturday, police said.
ABC television affiliate WPVI said the damage was widespread and footage
showed rows of headstones knocked down.
"I'm hoping it was maybe just some drunk kids. But the fact that there's
so many, it leads one to think it could have been targeted," cemetery
visitor Andrew Mallin, who had come to see his father's grave, told the
The Anti-Defamation League, a watchdog group that monitors hate groups,
is offering a $10,000 reward in the case, supported by the Mizel Family
Foundation, police said.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Twitter:
"#Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecration is shocking and a source of
worry. Full confidence #US authorities catch and punish culprits."
The apparent vandalism came about a week after about 170 headstones were
damaged at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. Jewish community centers
across the United States have also
reported a surge in bomb threats, but all were hoaxes.
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Muslim Americans have helped raise about $131,000 to repair the St.
Louis cemetery, far exceeding organizers' $20,000 goal, according to
their LaunchGood website.
Some Jewish groups have described the vandalism and threats as the
latest evidence that Donald Trump's election as U.S. president had
emboldened anti-Semitic groups. His campaign last year drew the
support of white nationalists and right-wing groups, despite his
disavowals of them.
Trump delivered his first public condemnation of anti-Semitic
incidents on Tuesday. The threats are "horrible and are painful and
a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out
hate and prejudice and evil," he said.
Some Jewish organizations have criticized his approach. The Anne
Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York called his comments "a
Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own
Jewish groups had also criticized the White House for omitting any
mention of Jews in its statement marking Holocaust Memorial Day last
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Alistair Bell
and Peter Cooney)
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