29/12/2019 12:42 GMT

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Scrawled On London Synagogue And Shops During Hanukkah

Police are investigating the graffiti as a racially-motivated hate crime.

PA Wire/PA Images
Anti-semitic graffiti in the form of a 9/11 sprayed onto the outside of the South Hampstead Synagogue in North London.

Anti-Semitic graffiti has been scrawled overnight on a north London synagogue and a number of shops as Jews celebrated Hanukkah. 

The Star of David was graffitied in red and purple spray-paint alongside the numbers “9 11” on several different buildings in the Hampstead and Belsize Park area, including South Hampstead Synagogue. 

The numbers reference an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which claims Jews are responsible for the 9/11 terror attack which destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York. 

Police have said they are investigating the racially motivated hate crime after receiving reports of the vandalism at 11.30pm on Saturday.

Conservative councillor for Hampstead Oliver Cooper said he spent Sunday morning patrolling the neighbourhood after “appalled” residents alerted the Community Security Trust (CST) charity, which works to protect the Jewish community.

 Cooper told the PA news agency: “My first reaction was shock and horror.

“I’ve had to report anti-Semitic graffiti in Hampstead a number of times before, including by a banned neo-Nazi group, but I have never seen anything approaching this extent.”

He said he had come across the graffiti in nine places, and others also posted photographs of the markings on social media.  

A video posted on Twitter shows example of the graffiti being removed by a council worker from a phone box on Sunday morning. 

The Metropolitan Police said no arrests have yet been made.

Inspector Kev Hailes said: “This is clearly a concerning incident and one we are taking seriously.

“We have liaised with our partners in order to remove the graffiti and various inquiries are under way to find who is responsible.

“Officers will be on patrol throughout the area in order to provide some reassurance to local communities. Please approach us if you have any questions or concerns.”

Police have asked anyone who saw anything suspicious on Saturday night to call them on 101.

The incident comes after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home north of New York on Saturday night.

A knifeman attacked a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, before fleeing in a car at around 10pm, police said. A suspect was later apprehended in Harlem. 

The attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month.

Responding to the graffiti in London, the Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote on Twitter: “This is a reminder that antisemitism is still with us. Thanks @CST_UK for reporting to @MPSCamden. We hope action is taken to find & punish the perpetrators. Let’s all work to defeat antisemitism in 2020!”