JTA — A rock in the center of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville that students paint with inspirational messages was covered over with a message accusing Jews of being behind the 9/11 attacks.
The graffiti painted on the Rock on Wednesday night read, “Jews did 9-11. Google: Dancing Israelis.”
The message that was painted over by the anti-Semitic graffiti was an image of the homemade Tennessee Volunteers T-shirt created by a young boy from Florida for his school’s “collegiate day” and who was bullied over it. The university later offered the fourth grader a four-year scholarship to the school. The university also printed 50,000 copies of the shirt with proceeds of its sale going to the charity Stomp Out Bullying.
In a statement condemning the message painted on the rock, University Chancellor Donde Plowman wrote: ” In one week, the Rock has brought out the best and the worst. We celebrated the outpouring of love for the young volunteer who made his own T-shirt, and someone beautifully depicted the shirt on the Rock. Last night, someone covered that message of love with an anti-Semitic hate message. We condemn that hate aimed toward members of our Jewish community, and we understand that words are not enough.”
— Jaime Marquis (@jaime_marquis) September 12, 2019
It is at least the third time in the last year the Rock has been painted with anti-Semitic messages or symbols, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The first occurred in November, when a vigil was held at the Rock after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people the previous month.