HARTFORD, Conn. (Sep. 8)
Five Jewish homes in West Hartford and a number of cars in their driveways were the targets of vandals who scrawled anti-Israel slogans and set fire to one of the cars. Police have not found the perpetrators but Chief Francis G. Reynolds has promised that patrols in the area will be increased, the Connecticut Jewish Ledger reported. Spokesmen for the Hartford Jewish community have expressed grave concern over the incidents.
According to the Ledger, four of the homes were in the heavily Jewish populated King Philip section of West Hartford and the fifth home was some distance away, separated from the others by the St. Joseph College campus. One of the homes is the residence of a prominent Jewish community leader. The Ledger has withheld the names of the victimized families to protect them from further harassment.
The Ledger reported that according to police accounts, the vandals set fire to the gasoline tank of one car but firemen put out the blaze before an explosion occurred. Another car in the same driveway was doused with gasoline but not set on fire. On one of the homes, the slogans “Avenge Entebbe” and “Free PFLP” were scrawled with a felt-tipped pen. Other slogans included “Liberate Palestine” and “Kill White America.” In the latter, the “i” in “America” was replaced by a swastika.
The slogans appeared to be references to the Israeli commando raid that freed 100 Air France hijack Victims at Entebbe Airport in Uganda last July 3. The PFLP, which stands for Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is the terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the hijack.
CAN’T RECALL SIMILAR ACTS
Jerry Wagner, chairman of the community relations committee of the Hartford Jewish Federation, said in a statement to the Ledger that he could not recall any similar acts of bigotry or violence aimed against private homes in the greater Hartford area.
He said it was too soon to decide whether the incidents were the isolated work of “crackpot hate-mongers” or an organized campaign against the Jewish community. He said the community relations committee and the regional office of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League were serving as liaison with the State Police and the FBI in the matter.
According to the Ledger, the FBI was called into the case initially but is not now involved. The Ledger said it was told by special agent Thomas R. Dugan, who is in charge of the FBI’s Connecticut headquarters in New Haven, that no federal violation had been detected. Meanwhile, an anonymous donor, who may or may not have been one of the victims, has offered a $250 reward for the arrest and, conviction of the vandals.