*This is a developing story.
Earlier today the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Northern Virginia (NOVA) was the target of an anti-Semitic crime when Swastikas were painted across the front of the facility. A letter released by the JCC in Fairfax said, “As many of us recognize, these acts do not represent the community around the J or the community in Northern Virginia.” Also in the letter was an acknowledgment that that neighboring churches have also “suffered recent vandalism.”
According to a Twitter post from Peggy Fox, the bureau chief for CBS in NOVA, a suspect can be seen in a surveillance video walking round the facility’s premises. The suspect, clad in a black shirt and pants with a hood concealing his face, was seen spray painting the building at 4:39 a.m. based on the video’s timestamp.
In the JCC’s letter they make it known that their community’s safety is the top priority, but that they will continue to operate as normal. “We will continue our extensive security measures and ask the community to remain alert and vigilant,” the letter said, before closing with “We continue to serve as a welcoming gathering place for all members of our community.”
Incidents of anti-Semitism have skyrocketed in the U.S. Last year the FBI released statistics on hate crimes that showed most religiously motivated crimes remain directed towards people of the Jewish faith. The Jewish publication Tablet Magazine, analyzing the report, observed: “Despite constituting just two percent of the American population, Jews were subject to 54.4 percent of such attacks.” This was also echoed by the Anti-Defamation League which found that incidents of anti-Semitism rose 57 percent in 2017 – the largest single year increase on record. This has also coincided with a handful of Republican candidates running on anti-Semitic platforms that include holocaust denial. Arthur Jones, a member of the American Nazi Party, managed to secure the GOP nomination for Illinois 3rd Congressional District unopposed. Despite his platform, he still received 20,000 votes.
In early September, another incident of anti-Semitism occurred when Patrick Little, a neo-Nazi, flew a blimp over Giants Stadium in San Francisco which read, “Jews Rape Kids.” Little was a supporter of Jason Kessler, who planned the notorious Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, which left one person dead and thirty wounded in a vehicular attack by a white supremacist.
Senator Tim Kaine released a statement about the incident on Facebook around 2 p.m. today, which said, “We must stand together to unequivocally condemn this unacceptable behavior, and counter vicious anti-Semitism by working to build a more tolerant, loving, and inclusive community for one another. Hate has no place in Virginia and our nation – period.”