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Michigan: Jewish cemetery defaced with pro-Trump graffiti


clock 2 min read

Defaced gravestones at Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 3, 2020.
JEFF KOWALSKY / AFPDefaced gravestones at Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 3, 2020.

Police have made no arrests or identified any suspects in the desecration of a Grand Rapids Jewish cemetery

The Jewish Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan was vandalized over the weekend, local police said Monday.

Police say they found six headstones with slogans purportedly supporting US President Donald Trump graffitied on with red paint.

Video poster

Four of them featured the phrase “MAGA,” standing for Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Two others were spray-painted with “TRUMP.”

Sgt. John Wittkowski, spokesman for the police department, said in a statement that the paint seemed “relatively new.”

The vandalism was found just hours before Trump landed in Grand Rapids for his final rally before election day on Tuesday.

Police have not yet made any arrests, Wittkowski said on Tuesday, nor have they identified any suspects.

The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus expressed outrage at “the desecration,” according to a statement Monday. According to the statement, the act of vandalism was perpetrated on the eve of US Election Day “to send an intimidating message to the president’s opponents, and particularly, Jewish voters.”

“But it has failed,” the caucus said. “Grand Rapids’ Jewish community will not be cowed by this vile attack on Ahavas Israel.”

The Anti-Defamation League of Michigan said it “was appalled at the reported desecration,” and was working with law enforcement to aid in its investigation.

In separate incidents, two Jewish cemeteries in Europe were also vandalized but with Nazi symbolism, according to European Jewish groups.