For the second time in two years, the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia has been targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti. Nineteen swastikas were discovered Saturday morning as building staff arrived to open the building, according to board president David Yaffe.
Fairfax County police have released stills from surveillance footage showing a single suspect spray-painting the building’s exterior and said no other damage was found. In April of 2017, swastikas and other Nazi symbols were spray-painted at the JCC and the Little River United Church of Christ next door. Dylan M. Mahone of Annandale was arrested days later and charged with several felonies.
“This is getting to be a regular thing — it’s in the air around us, in the country around us,” Yaffe said Saturday, according to CNN. “There are expressions of support but they are tinged with fatigue. It’s hard to jump up and down when it happens that regularly and frequently. How much outrage can you sustain for that long period of time?”
Yaffe and JCC Executive Director Jeff Dannick released a statement Saturday morning.
“These acts do not represent the community around the J or the community in Northern Virginia. As we also know, our neighboring churches also have suffered recent vandalism,” the statement reads. “The J as a whole, and particularly through the focused efforts of our Committee for a Just and Caring Community, will continue to participate as a positive force in both the Jewish and wider communities.”
According the Virginia State Police, hate crimes have been on the rise in Virginia recently. According to a report released in June, hate crimes were up 50 percent in 2017, with Jews making up the second most-targeted minority group.
Condemnation came in quickly from Virginia politicians Saturday.
“An insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism is happening in Virginia and across the country,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) tweeted. “We must meet it with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity. We cannot allow hate to fester.”
State Attorney General Mark Herring said the political climate was contributing to expressions of hate.
“Way too many politicians in Virginia are way too complacent about the rise of white supremacist violence and anti-Semitism. The threat is real, it’s growing, and we have to take a stand,” he tweeted.
Police are offering up to $1,000 dollars for information that leads to an arrest and are asking anyone with information to call the Mason District Police Station at 703-256-8035.