‘It’s cowardly, it’s cheap,’ say Jewish leaders of anti-Semitic hate graffiti found in an Esquimalt Park

'It's cowardly, it's cheap,' say Jewish leaders of anti-Semitic hate graffiti found in an Esquimalt Park
File Photo
A Victoria police car at MacAulay Point Park, where hate graffiti was found this week.

Marilyn Day has a long family history with MacAulay Point Park, and she takes care of the grounds every day.

But Thursday morning, hateful graffiti sprayed across the buildings, stopped her in her tracks.

“I showed up at 9:30 to rake the leaves and then I saw pictures of the graffiti and I couldn’t believe the context of the pictures. Anti-Semitic. The police called it shock value. Some of the drawings were really disgusting,” said Day.

Marilyn says dozens of anti-Semitic drawings and swastikas had been spray-painted on nearly every structure in the park.

“Oh, it hurts. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Very disturbing,” said Day.

Local Jewish leaders are saying this kind of hate is nothing new.

“We’ve found it year after year after year,” said Rabbi Lynn Greenhough with Congregation Kolot Mayim in Victoria.

“It’s cowardly, it’s cheap. People clearly who are committing such actions probably don’t even realize who they’re addressing this to. When will people realize we’re not the enemy?”

The hate graffiti has since been painted over, and Victoria Police are looking for the suspect.

In the meantime, authorities aren’t releasing what the graffiti actually looked like.

“That is specifically the goal of many taggers and will likely encourage more tagging at MacAuley Point Park,” explained Victoria Police in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, hate directed at a different group is spiking: anti-Asian hate.

“I believe it has to do with the pandemic starting, how it originated in China and we had people in this city, unfortunately, preying on the Asian community,” said Constable Tania Visintin with Vancouver Police.

In Vancouver, anti-Asian hate incidents with no criminal connection, like racist slurs, are up 878 per cent, according to Vancouver Police.

Hate crimes on the other hand, where hate is part of a crime, are up 138 per cent, up from just nine reported last year, to 88.

Back in Victoria, the hate here is serving as a reminder to us all that more work still needs to be done.

“We are not threatened in any way by these instances,” said Rabbi Meir Kaplan of Chabad Vancouver Island.

“But at the same time, I think it’s a wake-up call for all of us to do what we can, to bring more awareness to the past, and more commitment for the future.”

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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