A Jewish resident of Bristol has spoken of “deep upset and anxiety” after a swastika was daubed on his neighbour’s car on Yom Kippur.
The symbol appeared in neon graffiti on Monday and is being investigated by Avon and Somerset Police, who “do not believe this to have been deliberate targeting due to race or religion”.
In a statement, they told Jewish News: “We received a call from a third party on Monday 28 September to reports of suspected criminal damage to a car in the Waters Road area of Bristol.”
Officers have taken action to try to ensure the offensive symbol is removed from public view and are continuing to try to establish who is the individual, or individuals, responsible.”
Supt Andy Bennett, the force’s lead on hate crime, said: “We take all reports of this nature very seriously and will not tolerate such unacceptable actions. There is no place for offensive acts like this in any of our communities.
“Following this incident we approached the Jewish Community Safety Trust who are satisfied that we’re dealing with this in a correct and proper way.
“However, although our investigation into this incident is at an early stage, we’d like to reassure people that we do not believe the owner of the vehicle or anyone else was deliberately targeted on the basis of their race or religion. This follows conversations with people in the area and the owner of the car.
“Regardless, we will continue to investigate this hate crime and ask anyone with information is asked to call 101 and give the call-handler reference number 5220221077.”
It was reported by Nick Helfenbein, who said: “We woke up to our neighbour’s car tagged with a giant neon Swastika. It’s Yom Kippur, and this makes me sick both as a Jew and as a human”.
“This is the holiest day of the #Jewish year, and to have a swastika suddenly appear right across the street from our flat, in #Bristol of all places, is absolutely harrowing.”
Adding that he has Holocaust survivors in his family, he said: “This causes deep upset and anxiety.”
In an unlikely intervention, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin weighed in, taking to Twitter to condemn the “shocking sight of rising Antisemitism – a swastika sprayed on a car on Yom Kippur in Britain yesterday.
“Words of condemnation are not enough. We need Holocaust education and remembrance so governments and societies everywhere actively challenge this threat to Jews.”
This is the shocking sight of rising #Antisemitism – a swastika sprayed on a car on Yom Kippur in Britain yesterday. Words of condemnation are not enough. We need #Holocaust education and remembrance so governments and societies everywhere actively challenge this threat to Jews. pic.twitter.com/1GMigw7QZI
— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) September 29, 2020
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