Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Jewish Homes in Pennsylvania Targeted with Antisemitic Graffiti

According to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the community experienced 300 incidents of antisemitism in all of 2023. 

Of those 300,106 of them happened between October 7 and the end of the year, revealing the prevalence of hate amid the Israel-Hamas war. Now Pittsburgh police are investigating more incidents after multiple signs in support of Israel were defaced in recent days in Squirrel Hill.

As Aviva was walking her kids to the bus stop Monday morning, she discovered vandalism on her front lawn. Her “We Stand with Israel,” sign was defaced on both sides, splattered with red handprints, apparently representing blood.

“It’s incredibly disappointing and disturbing,” Aviva said. “It was really hard to miss.”

It was deep into her property, so someone had to walk all the way across her yard. After processing what happened, she removed the sign and put out a new one, but Tuesday morning she discovered it happened all over again, and it wasn’t long before she learned she wasn’t the only one.

Police said about 10 families discovered the same vandalism to their signs. 

Shawn Brokos is the director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

“It was a targeted act,” Brokos said.

Brokos said the act reveals a specific accusation towards Jews, Israelis, or supporters of them.

“Because of that you have blood on your hands because you’re supporting genocide through the war that’s happening, which is absolutely inaccurate,” Brokos said.

If the suspect or suspects are caught, Brokos said there’s the potential to charge them with ethnic intimidation at the local level and with a hate crime at the federal level.

“It is certainly a targeted offense based on religion or ethnicity, and that is the start of a hate crime,” Brokos said.

Brokos said the incidents illustrate the rise in antisemitism since the Israel-Hamas war started.

They’ve increased security within the Jewish community with the help of local, state, and federal agencies.

“I hope that the community realizes that antisemitism is real,” Aviva said.

Aviva and other Jews hope the suspects are found, but they’re moving forward just as they’ve always done.

“I will not let somebody whose bad actions and bad intentions stop me from proudly being a Jewish person,” Aviva said.

Police said they don’t have any suspects at this time.

If you encounter an antisemitic incident you can file a report here and call 911. 

Pittsburgh Police are working with state and federal partners and are increasing patrols in the area.