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PHRC condemns antisemitic vandalism at a Wynnewood synagogue

04/02/2024


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2024
Contact: Amanda Brothman, ambrothman@pa.gov

PHRC condemns antisemitic vandalism at a Wynnewood synagogue
 

Harrisburg, PA- The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) condemns the vandalism found Sunday morning, March 31, at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynwood, Pennsylvania.

In a statement released by the synagogue, overnight a swastika was spray painted onto a sign saying, "Our Community Stands with Israel." The synagogue says this is the second time this has happened and says the police are investigating.  

PHRC's chairperson, Joel Bolstein, Esq., offered the following statement, "The PHRC condemns this blatant act of antisemitism against the local Jewish community in the strongest possible terms.  The swastika is a universally recognized symbol of hatred not just against Jews but against all Americans.  As Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the Simon Wiesenthal Center said: "The swastika is shorthand for every racist and bigot on the planet."  Whoever committed this act of vandalism needs to be reminded that hate has no place in Pennsylvania.  And as Pennsylvania's civil rights enforcement agency, PHRC wants the people of the Commonwealth to know that we will remain vigilant in our efforts to combat discrimination and hate in all of its forms."   

"Antisemitism has no place in our commonwealth, or our country," said PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW. "No one should ever feel afraid to practice their religion. Under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, you are protected from discrimination based on religion. If you feel you have experienced acts of discrimination or bias, file a report with the PHRC."

In a 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there were 852 reported incidents of antisemitic propaganda flier distribution in 2022, that is up from 422 in 2021.

If you are the victim of a hate crime, such as assault or property damage, contact your local police department or the Pennsylvania State Police. The PHRC does not charge or investigate hate crimes or criminal offenses. However, the PHRC can help determine if an act of hate also violates the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).

The PHRC urges anyone who has experienced acts of discrimination or hate to file a complaint with the PHRC by calling 717-787-4410. If you are the victim of violence or if you witness an act of violence, you should call 911 immediately. Pennsylvania has Hate Crime and Ethnic Intimidation laws that protect and support victims. For more information and resources visit www.PHRC.pa.gov. Follow the PHRC on X, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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