Police investigate Hanukkah hate crime after thugs scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti across a synagogue, shops and cafes in London’s Hampstead and Belsize Park
- The Star of David and ‘9/11’ drawn on shops around Hampstead and Belsize Park
- It is understood that the numbers refer to a conspiracy theory over 2001 attacks
- The Metropolitan Police said it is ‘investigating a racially motivated hate crime’
Anti-Semitic graffiti found daubed across several shop fronts and a synagogue in north London has been condemned as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘senseless’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of ‘love and solidarity’ to Jewish communities, while shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq also spoke out against the incident during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
The Jewish holy symbol alongside the numbers ‘9 11’ was spray-painted in red and purple on several premises in the Hampstead and Belsize Park area, including South Hampstead Synagogue, on Saturday night.
The graffiti references an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews are responsible for the 9/11 terror attack, and was found less than two hours after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home in New York.
Anti-Semitic graffiti has been scrawled across a synagogue (pictured, South Hampstead Synagogue) and shops in north London overnight
The South Hampstead Synagogue in North London is pictured. Vandals scrawled graffiti on the side of it overnight
Police have said they are investigating the graffiti as a racially motivated hate crime after receiving reports of the vandalism at 11.30pm on Saturday.
The graffiti was seen being removed from shop windows on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Corbyn said on Twitter: ‘How terrible that Chanukah started with a message of hope and on this last day we face antisemitic graffiti in London and horrific stabbings at a party in New York.
‘We stand with all our communities facing hate. We send love and solidarity to Jewish communities around the world.’
The Star of David and ‘9/11’ were plastered over cafes and stores in Hampstead and Belsize Park
Ms Siddiq condemned the vandalism as ‘unbelievable, senseless, disgusting anti-Semitism at the heart of our community’.
She added: ‘I am in touch with Camden Council and Borough Commander (Raj) Kohli regarding clean-up and attempting to find these criminals – we must all stay vigilant in order to continue the fight against this hatred.’
And Sir Keir said: ‘I agree with Tulip. This graffiti is disgusting and we must stand with the Jewish community against antisemitism.
‘If you have any information about who may be responsible for this crime, please contact the Camden police on 101.’
It is understood the numbers are in reference to a conspiracy theory that tries to link Jews to the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001
The Board of Deputies replied to James Sorene’s tweet, posting: ‘This is a reminder that antisemitism is still with us’
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould released a joint statement alongside Sir Keir and Ms Siddiq, which said they were ‘horrified’ by the vandalism.
The statement read: ‘Camden is and always will be no place for hate.
‘We stand together with all of our Jewish residents and our whole community in saying these cowardly pedlars of hate do not represent Camden and our values.
‘We are proud to have a strong, vibrant Jewish community as part of our beautiful borough. (…)
‘This is not an isolated incident and we must all confront the rising tide of hate crime and antisemitism in the UK.
‘Now is the moment to find the courage to confront hatred and prejudice wherever we see it.’
Ant-semitic graffiti is cleaned off the shop Esclot on Hampstead High Street (left and right)
The Metropolitan Police said it is ‘investigating a racially motivated hate crime in the Hampstead area’
Inspector Kev Hailes said: ‘This is clearly a concerning incident and one we are taking seriously.
‘We have liaised with our partners in order to remove the graffiti and various inquiries are under way to find who is responsible.
‘Officers will be on patrol throughout the area in order to provide some reassurance to local communities. Please approach us if you have any questions or concerns.’
Police have asked anyone who saw anything suspicious on Saturday night to call them on 101.
The incident comes after five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home north of New York on Saturday night.
A knifeman attacked a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, before fleeing in a vehicle at around 10pm, police said.
The attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month.