Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC vandalized with ‘Free Gaza’ graffiti

Steps of monument sprayed with red paint, pro-Palestinian messages, which clean-up crews say could take time to remove

'Free Gaza' graffitied on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on December 21, 2023. (Screen capture/Fox News)
'Free Gaza' graffitied on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on December 21, 2023. (Screen capture/Fox News)

JTA — The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC closed temporarily on Wednesday after its steps were vandalized with graffiti reading “Free Gaza” in multiple places.

US Park Police were investigating the graffiti, which was discovered Wednesday morning at the Washington, DC monument, according to ABC News. Crews were dispatched to clean up the vandalism. The steps of the memorial were splattered with red paint and pro-Palestinian messages, which the National Park Service said could take some time to complete.

“National Park Service conservators have begun the process of removing the paint this morning, though it may take multiple treatments over several days to remove all of it,” spokesperson Mike Litterst said Wednesday.

By the evening, according to a local Fox affiliate, most of the paint was removed. One more treatment of the graffiti was scheduled for Thursday morning.

Images from the scene show that the words “Free Palestine” and another message that includes the phrase “land back” were spray-painted at the base of the memorial near the reflecting pool.

Last month, protestors spray-painted “Free Palestine” on several statutes at Lafayette Square, a park near the White House.

Jewish sites in the United States and across the world have been hit with antisemitic and anti-Israel graffiti since the deadly Hamas assault on southern Israel on October 7, in which some 1,200 people were massacred, and the subsequent war in Gaza through which Israel has vowed to eliminate the enclave’s ruling terror group.

Illustrative: view of the Lincoln Memorial, an American national monument built to honor the 16th President of the United States, in Washington DC, USA. November 11, 2017. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The targets have included several synagogues, Jewish-owned restaurants, the New York office of a Jewish member of Congress and London’s Holocaust library.

On December 12, the Anti-Defamation League said it recorded 2,031 antisemitic incidents between October 7 and December 7, the highest ever two-month number since the ADL began tracking antisemitism in the US in 1979. It also represented a 337 percent increase over the same period in 2022.

The cases in question included 40 incidents of physical violence, 749 verbal attacks, 337 cases of vandalism and 905 rallies that featured antisemitic speech, support for terrorism or anti-Zionism, the latter being defined by the ADL as an expression of antisemitism for denying the Jewish right to self-determination.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

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