‘Palestine’ in Arabic spray-painted on UMass Hillel on Holocaust Remembrance Day


(JTA) — The Hillel at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst was vandalized on Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The red spray-painted Arabic letters translate as “Palestine,” The Massachusetts Daily Collegian student newspaper reported Tuesday. The graffiti was discovered on Tuesday morning.

The school has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus crisis.

University Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy in a statement called the vandalism a “brazen act of anti-Semitism.”

“In this period of global crisis, it is more important than ever that we reject hatred and intolerance,” he wrote. “Our Jewish students, faculty and staff add to the rich diversity that makes UMass such a special place, and Hillel is a source of support and strength for so many of our students. The hateful actions of any individual cannot change that, and will, in fact, strengthen our resolve to stand in solidarity with the members of our Jewish community.”

UMass Hillel said in a statement posted on Facebook that it reported the vandalism to the Amherst Police, the university and organizational partners.

“This cowardly act of hatred towards the Jewish community amidst a time of global crisis and on Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, is reprehensible,” the statement said. “Our UMass Jewish community is resilient and strong, and in the face of this hate we will only deepen our commitment to empowering students to build vibrant community based on values of love, respect, justice and peace.”

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