Anti-Semitic vandalism

Over Homecoming weekend, a few of my friends faced a rough situation.

After asking a few strangers to leave their apartment to avoid their place from becoming over-crowded with people they don’t know, they found their door key-scratched with the word “Jew” and their mezuzah, a biblical Hebrew scribe in a small shell that’s mounted next to doorways, ripped down and broken.

The event was later described as worrying and confusing. I can’t fully understand what they felt during those moments, but I can partially relate.

Upon first moving into my new building a couple months ago, my roommates and I, who are all also Jewish, noticed a couple of swastikas drawn on the wall sheet in the elevator. It was obvious this was not a direct attack, but the fundamental cruelty, idiocy and candid ignorance behind such actions remain the same.

Whether or not these acts of vandalism were truly fueled by anti-Semitic intentions, the hurtful impact carries through.

Not undermined or minimized, let’s call these redecorations what they truly are: hate crimes.

And like most committed crimes, those responsible should feel guilty and ashamed.

Some may see such vandalistic acts as harmless, not cruelly intended or mere mistakes of intoxication. However what such destruction truly represents likely soars far beyond what those naive minds are capable of understanding.

So allow me to break it down as simply as I can.

Beyond the inconvenience of having to wipe off vandalized words or symbols that represent the annihilation of your very existence, such demonstrations of hatred work as reminders of rejection in our society — confirming that there are still people in this world that are lost within the twisted ideals that had once forced humanity into our darkest days.

I’m not saying this is a common occurrence. Now in my third-year living in Waterloo, unlike with many other Canadian university campuses, I haven’t heard of or encountered any hate crimes besides the ones mentioned prior.

I certainly don’t live in fear of revealing my religion and have rarely felt even the slightest bit uncomfortable.

To be honest, I’m nothing but proud of my heritage. Growing up in a mostly Jewish community made me appreciate moving to a more diversified area all the more. Being different had never felt like something to be hidden, but rather something to be glorified.

Now, for argument’s sake, let’s say the unknown individuals who key-scratched the door or drew the swastikas in the elevator do not truly stand by what their vandalistic actions represent. Perhaps they were just drunk, looking for a laugh or had lost control of their body when tripping on acid.

Should they still feel guilty? Are their actions then less intensified? Would it be better to not take such stupidity personally and simply carry on with our days?

No matter what led them to the crime, what their influences were, what their actual intentions were or the extents of their true character, what was done is simply inexcusable.

Particularly from the perspective of those encountering the crime, there is nothing that would separate the drunks, comedians and acid-trippers from those true Nazi supporters that have real hatred deep-rooted in the coldness of their fucked-up minds.

Why? Because there is no difference.

The daunting fear trickles in at the exact same pace; the blood-curdling reminder that hatred prevails within your own society echoes through your thoughts and makes you question your very safety. The reality of the matter is hate crimes can take their toll. The cruelty of this degree can feel as vicious of an attack as any other.

For those few of you who don’t see the problem, who see anti-Semitic vandalism as “harmless” or “minimal,” I kindly invite you to get your heads out of your asses, open your eyes and remember that it has been 70* years since six million innocent people lost their lives because of the brutalities of oppression.

*This has been altered from its original version

3 Comments

  1. “A person is always liable [for their behaviour], whether intentional or accidental, whether willful or coerced, whether awake or asleep” – Talmud.

    See also: “When wine enters, secrets emerge” – Talmud.

    It would make the world a better place if the people who did this owned up and cleaned up.

  2. Well said. Well written

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