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Rabbi’s Home in Maryland Vandalized with Smashed Watermelons

A rabbi who lives on Hampden’s “Miracle on 34th Street” said he filed a police report after finding smashed watermelons — long considered a symbol of Palestine solidarity — in his front yard and at a neighbor’s Hanukkah-themed home.

The Baltimore Police Department could not be reached for comment.

Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz said he had just gotten back to his home on West 34th Street on Saturday evening when one of his neighbors called him over and pointed to a trash bag in his front yard that had been filled with pieces of smashed watermelons. He believes he was targeted because of his sign, which reads: “We Stand With Israel.”

Watermelons emerged as a symbol of Palestine solidarity in 1967, after the Israeli government banned the public display of the Palestinian flag. The fruit has the same national colors of the Palestinian flag, red, black, white and green.

The neighbor told Moskowitz that, before a pro-Palestine protest took place on Saturday evening, someone — neighbors and security camera footage were not able to tell who — had torn some of the lights that had been on the front fence and smashed watermelons in Moskowitz’s yard. Pieces of watermelon could be seen Sunday morning.

“They didn’t want our children to be frightened when we got home, so they had cleaned up the yard for us,” Moskowitz said.

In a comment posted on the social media platform X on Saturday, Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer blamed the vandalism on “anti-semitic protesters.”

But Moskowitz said the march had generally been peaceful and that the vandalism occurred before protesters arrived.

“This was a separate activity. This was just vandalism of somebody’s front yard,” he said.

Councilwoman Odette Ramos, whose district includes Hampden, said she spent time with the Jewish families on 34th street on Sunday afternoon.

”It’s very upsetting that something like this has occurred on a block that brings so much joy to residents across the city,” she said. “Antisemitism is unacceptable here, in my district, or anywhere in our city. There have been a couple of racist, antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents in Hampden this year.”

She noted that neighbors have come together to support families and businesses impacted.

Since the surprise Hamas attack Oct. 7 in Israel that ignited a war, more than 20,000 people have been killed in Gaza and at least 1,400 in Israel.

Source: https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/community/local-news/hampden-34th-street-anti-semitism-watermelons-UF2HJXFYGJGIDAP5Y7JRWE7SJI/