(Updated on Nov. 10, 2020 to include additional information)
The Democrat platform is socialist” read a sign that was attached to a tree on the property of the Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.
But it wasn’t the words that led the ADL to call the sign anti-Semitic.
On the sign, discovered on Nov. 2, the “s”s in the word “socialist” were in the shape of a Nazi lightning bolt. The dots in the letter “i”s were swastikas. The word “rat” inside the word “Democrat” was written in red for emphasis.
These symbols are known to be associated with white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups, according to Meredith R. Weisel, the senior associate regional director at the ADL’s Washington office.
“We know that this is a symbol that white supremacists use in many ways,” Weisel said. “Context can be one thing, but clearly, when you see something like this on a sign in front of where the JCC is, we definitely pause for caution.”
The Fairfax-based Pozez JCC has experienced other anti-Semitic incidents in recent years. Nineteen swastikas were spray-painted onto the JCC’s building in 2018. And swastikas and other Nazi symbols were spray-painted onto the JCC and the Little River United Church of Christ next door in 2017.
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in recent years. There were 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2019, according to ADL’s Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents 2019. This is a 12 percent increase from 2018 and the highest on record since at least 1979, when the ADL began tallying anti-Semitic incidents.
“We are, without a doubt, anticipating that 2020, everything from white supremacist propaganda to certain incidents of assault or some sort of physical destruction or vandalism, is going to be another record year for anti-Semitic incidents,” Weisel said. “So for a sign like this to show up near [the JCC] is, unfortunately, not surprising and it does raise a cause for concern.”
Pozez JCC issued this statement:
“Although this incident reminds us there is a small group of people who are invigorated by today’s political climate, overwhelmingly, the shared support of the J’s mission to build community and enrich lives is shared by our neighbors and throughout the broader
Laura Adler, the JCC’s marketing and communications director, said a police report has been filed.