Anti-Semitic graffiti found daubed across several shop fronts and a synagogue in north London has been condemned as “disgraceful” and “senseless”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of “love and solidarity” to Jewish communities, while Home Secretary Priti Patel described anti-Semitism as an “unacceptable scourge on our society”.
The Jewish holy symbol alongside the numbers “9 11” was spray-painted in red and purple on several premises in the Hampstead and Belsize Park area, including South Hampstead Synagogue, on Saturday night.
The graffiti references an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews are responsible for the 9/11 terror attack, and was found less than two hours after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home in New York.
Police have said they are investigating the graffiti as a racially motivated hate crime after receiving reports of the vandalism at 11.30pm on Saturday.
The graffiti was seen being removed from shop windows on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Corbyn said on Twitter: “How terrible that Chanukah started with a message of hope and on this last day we face antisemitic graffiti in London and horrific stabbings at a party in New York.
“We stand with all our communities facing hate. We send love and solidarity to Jewish communities around the world.”
How terrible that Chanukah started with a message of hope and on this last day we face antisemitic graffiti in London and horrific stabbings at a party in New York. We stand with all our communities facing hate.
We send love and solidarity to Jewish communities around the world.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 29, 2019
Ms Patel said: “We must root out this anti-Semitic hatred.”
She added: “No one should live in fear or tolerate such heinous abuse.”
Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq condemned the vandalism as “unbelievable, senseless, disgusting anti-Semitism at the heart of our community”.
MP for Holborn and St Pancras Sir Keir Starmer said: “I agree with Tulip. This graffiti is disgusting and we must stand with the Jewish community against antisemitism.”
Unbelievable, senseless, disgusting antisemitism at the heart of our community. I am in touch with Camden Council and Borough Commander Kohli regarding cleanup and attempting to find these criminals – we must all stay vigilant in order to continue the fight against this hatred https://t.co/rcIx4ixlPZ
— Tulip Siddiq (@TulipSiddiq) December 29, 2019
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould released a joint statement alongside Sir Keir and Ms Siddiq, which said they were “horrified” by the vandalism.
The statement read: “Camden is and always will be no place for hate.
“We stand together with all of our Jewish residents and our whole community in saying these cowardly pedlars of hate do not represent Camden and our values…
“This is not an isolated incident and we must all confront the rising tide of hate crime and antisemitism in the UK.
“Now is the moment to find the courage to confront hatred and prejudice wherever we see it.”
Camden street cleaning teams are removing the graffiti “as quickly and sensitively as possible”, they added.
A spokesman for South Hampstead Synagogue, one of the buildings targeted in the vandalism spate, also said: “This is a time for people of all backgrounds – of all faiths and of none – to stand united and show our determination that we do not tolerate prejudice, hate and division – on our streets or online.”
The Metropolitan Police said no arrests have yet been made.
I agree with Tulip. This graffiti is disgusting and we must stand with the Jewish community against antisemitism.
If you have any information about who may be responsible for this crime, please contact the Camden police on 101. https://t.co/FkK88vBcRQ
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) December 29, 2019
Inspector Kev Hailes said: “This is clearly a concerning incident and one we are taking seriously.
“We have liaised with our partners in order to remove the graffiti and various inquiries are under way to find who is responsible.
“Officers will be on patrol throughout the area in order to provide some reassurance to local communities. Please approach us if you have any questions or concerns.”
Police have asked anyone who saw anything suspicious on Saturday night to call them on 101.
Norman Lebrecht, the author of Genius and Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World 1847-1947, said his London-born father “was alert to anti-Semitic slurs, but I, born after the war, assumed that Hitler’s Holocaust had made Jew-hatred forever inadmissible.
“That assumption held true until about five years ago, when anti-Semitic tropes made an unexpected return to the political discourse of the nationalist Right and the anti-Zionist Left,” he wrote in a column in The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Lebrecht added: “on a moonless Hampstead night, vandals committed 12 criminal acts of anti-Semitism. That cannot be allowed to pass.”
The incident comes after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home north of New York on Saturday night.
A knifeman attacked a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, before fleeing in a vehicle at around 10pm, police said.
The attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month.