First Incidence of Anti-semitic Vandalism in N.Y. College Town Arouses Community-wide Concern

The first incidence of anti-Semitic vandalism has aroused community-wide concern in this college town of 26,000. Police Chief James Herron has assigned two members of his department to head up an investigation of recent swastika smearing in downtown Ithaca.

The Nazi symbol was spray-painted on four business establishments, two of them Jewish owned and on the walls of Temple Beth-El and a municipal garage during the weekend of Dec. 1-2. So far, no clues or witnesses have been found.

According to Beth Randall. New York State Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, this is the first known instance of anti-Semitic graffiti in Ithaca which has a Jewish population of about 1000. She said the ADL would work with the local Interfaith Committee and the Hillel directors at Ithaca College and nearby Cornell University to prevent a recurrence.

The possibility was raised that the swastika smearings may have been related to the painting of Ku Klux Klan symbols and the epithet “nigger” on the walls of the African Cultural Center on the Cornell campus over the same weekend. Anti-Black graffiti was also found on the walls of the Ujamaa dormitory which houses many Black and Third World students at Cornell.

Apparently unrelated was the swastika smearing on the Hebrew day school in Middletown, N.Y. last week. It was the third time this year that the school was vandalized.

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