Headstones vandalized with swastikas at Illinois Jewish cemetery

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More than a dozen headstones at an Illinois Jewish cemetery were vandalized with swastikas on Monday, police said.

Police found 16 large headstones with “large red spray-painted swastikas” at Congregation Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan, a city about 45 miles north of Chicago, according to a statement from Keith Zupec, chief of police for the Waukegan Police Department.

Police also found another 23 headstones “that had been defaced with non-specific red spray-painted graffiti,” according to the statement from Zupec.

Video obtained by Fox affiliate WFLD of Chicago shows that at least one of the headstones was also defaced with what appears to read, “Kanye was rite,” referencing the recent antisemitic comments by the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.

Brad Goodman, spokesperson for the Waukegan Mayor’s Office, told NBC News that WFLD’s report appears accurate, but that officials “can’t confirm verbatim what was written, as the writing is difficult to read.”

Officials with the congregation could not immediately be reached.

Similar antisemitic messages referencing the rapper’s comments have also appeared over an L.A. freeway and at a Florida-Georgia football game last month.

The vandalism at the Illinois cemetery comes as antisemitic incidents have been on the rise across the country.

Waukegan’s mayor, Ann Taylor, condemned the vandalism in a statement, adding that she was “deeply disturbed and angered by the hateful imagery.”

“Hate does not have a home in Waukegan; when such incidents occur, our marginalized neighbors are victimized, and our entire community suffers,” Taylor said. “I hope our officers promptly locate the perpetrators of this despicable act and hold them accountable, and I offer my full support to those directly impacted by this vandalism.”

Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat who represents the city, said in a tweet he was “shocked and appalled” by the vandalism.

“Hate has no home here,” he wrote.

“Antisemitism must neither be normalized nor accepted,” he continued in another tweet.

The Waukegan Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating, police said.





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