(JTA) — Vice President Mike Pence said he was “sickened and appalled” by anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on the wall of a synagogue in his home state of Indiana.
“Sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla; a beautiful synagogue in Carmel, Indiana where I have many good friends. Those responsible must be held accountable. These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end,” Pence tweeted Sunday.
A black swastika surrounded by a red background and the German and Nazi military Iron Cross were painted Saturday morning on a wall at Shaarey Tefilla, a Conservative synagogue near Indianapolis with 200-member families.
Shabbat morning services were held despite the discovery, the synagogue said in a post on Facebook.
Pence served as governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017, withdrawing from his re-election campaign to become Donald Trump’s running mate on the Republican ticket. He served as a U.S. congressman from Indiana from 2001 to 2013.
Some comments on the tweet referred to the far-right rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one counter-protester dead and featured slogans such as “The Jews will not replace us.”
“I’m a member of that congregation,” Yaron Ayalon tweeted. “Perhaps you and your boss should have clearly denounced Charlottesville, white supremacists, Nazis, etc. before attacks like this happened, no?”
A reply by a Twitter user named David Belk read: A lot easier to condemn anonymous vandals innit? Did Richard Spencer lend 45 some sugar? How about you address any one of the openly white nationalists, Nazis, neofascists, or pedophiles currently on the GOP ballot, by name? Then answer for the stolen kids in cages. #ImpeachTrump”
Others, however, defended Pence and President Trump.
One wrote: “reading the mean-spirited responses, as if VP and @POTUS created this hatred. Anti-Semitism is not a recent travesty. These haters can’t get over their candidate loosing and jump on issues to prove a point that is non-existent, only displaying their own inability to be a grown up.”
Some of the comments also pointed out that Indiana is one of the few U.S. states without a hate crime statute.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in a statement called the vandals “cowards” and offered the assistance of the State Police “in bringing those behind the repulsive acts of desecration at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla to justice.”