Advance Notice: Briefs

Jewish cemetery desecrated with “MAGA” and “TRUMP” graffiti 

By: - November 3, 2020 1:29 pm

Vandalism at the Ahavas Israel Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids | Photo provided by Michigan Jewish Democrats

On Monday, one day before Election Day and hours before President Donald Trump visited the city, headstones at Ahavas Israel Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids were found vandalized with red spray-painted letters spelling out “TRUMP” and his slogan of “MAGA” (Make America Great Again).

The Anti-Defamation League of Michigan tweeted their statement shortly after the vandalism was found announcing they were in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism.

Grand Rapids Police Department spokesperson Sgt. John Wittkowski stated there was no new information following the discovery of the damage.  

“Since the initial incident, no arrests have been made and we have no real leads,” Wittkowski said. “There is no indication of any additional threats and we believe this to be an isolated occurrence.”

Going into Election Day, Wittkowski said the GRPD was well prepared for any issues of civil unrest that may occur today. 

Grand Rapids Jewish temple hit with anti-Semitic graffiti

On Monday evening, the Michigan Jewish Democrats issued a statement responding to the perceived attempt to intimidate Jewish voters.

“We are appalled and outraged by the desecration of Ahavas Israel cemetery in Grand Rapids on the day Donald Trump is slated to close his campaign with a rally in Grand Rapids,” Chair Noah Arbit said. “Make no mistake, this heinous act was committed on the eve of the 2020 election to send an intimidating message to the president’s opponents, and particularly, Jewish voters. But it has failed.”

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Twp.) also spoke out against anti-Semitism, stating it “has no home in our community.” 

In October 2019, the Advance first reported that Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids was hit with anti-Semitic graffiti consisting of two anti-Semitic posters, one of which included the image of Adolf Hitler saying, “Did you forget about me?”

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark

Alexis Stark is a freelance writer in Grand Rapids. She previously wrote for the Ann Arbor News. Before graduating from the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, Alexis covered features and campus news for the State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism.