Anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist messages were found in the SEPTA Spring Garden station on Tuesday morning.
The messages, written on pillars throughout a platform, called to “Boycott Israel,” “Make America Great For Once” and “#FreeMumia,” among other slogans. “Israelites Are The New Nazis,” one message read, above images of a crossed-out swastika and Magen David.
“I was very angered and saddened,” said Jonathan Krause, a lawyer and Anti-Defamation League board member who lives near the station with his family (Krause did not see the graffiti himself; it had been erased by the time he arrived). Krause noted the proximity of the messages to Congregation Rodeph Shalom, which is just a short walk away.
SEPTA police reported that the graffiti was erased soon after it had been reported to them, and that an investigation had been launched.
“We took care of that as soon as it had been brought to our attention,” said Heather Redfern, a SEPTA public information manager. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, SEPTA was first made aware of the graffiti around 6:30 a.m., and the graffiti was removed within two hours.
The Philadelphia chapter of the ADL said that it has been in contact with the Philadelphia Police Department and SEPTA.
“Absolutely no comparison can be made between the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews. Nor can Israeli actions or policies be characterized as acts of ethnic cleansing or genocide,” the statement reads. That charge, the statement continues, “serves to diminish the significance and uniqueness of the Holocaust. To make such a comparison constitutes blatant hostility toward Jews, Jewish history and the legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel.”
The graffiti speaks to a furious debate taking place across the country right now about the tone being struck by critics of Israeli government policy, centered on recent comments made by freshman U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota.
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