Numerous headstones have been knocked over and broken at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia in an apparent act of vandalism.
Aaron Mallin told ABC 6 that he discovered what had happened on Sunday, when he went to Mount Carmel Cemetery to see his father’s grave. He said he hopes the culprits were “just some drunk kids” but that it was hard to believe it wasn’t a targeted attack because so many headstones had been pushed over. Dozens of the grave markers had been affected and police are referring to the incident as vandalism, according to the outlet.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) called the vandalism a “cowardly, disturbing act” Sunday afternoon, stressing the importance of finding the perpetrators.
The Anti-Defamation League and the Anne Frank Center both condemned the act.
The incident comes just days after vandals in Missouri caused widespread damage at a Jewish cemetery in University City, toppling at least 100 headstones. Local authorities are investigating the incident but have said they have no indication that the act was a hate crime.
Both acts of vandalism occurred amid upticks in anti-Semitic threats and acts of hate in Philadelphia and across the country this year. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are investigating a series of vandalisms at synagogues in the city, Philly Voice reports.
At least 69 bomb threats have been called into 55 different Jewish community centers in the U.S., although all have been deemed hoaxes. The number of reported anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City is double what it was at this time last year, jumping from 13 to 28, Politico reports.
After repeated calls to address the apparent wave of hate in the U.S., President Donald Trump said on Feb. 21 that anti-Semitism was “horrible” and “it’s going to stop and has to stop.”
The Anne Frank Center, however, said Trump’s comments were insufficient and condescending. The group called Trump’s administration anti-Semitic, citing the White House’s failure to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance statement and the fact that Trump did not address the threats that Jewish community centers were receiving around the country soon enough.