A British artist who hung a “Beware of Jews” traffic-style sign in a heavily ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in London has apologized to the local Jewish community after a neighborhood watch reported the image to police as a hate crime.
The image inside the triangular sign indicating a road hazard depicts the silhouette of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in traditional clothing and was discovered near a synagogue in Stamford Hill on Monday.
The neighborhood watch program called Shomrim told local media the sign was a cause for concern for the local Jewish community, and local MPs condemned the image as “disgusting,” “unacceptable” and “despicable.”
On Wednesday, the freelance photographer and artist who made the sign told The Guardian that it was part of a wider art project commenting on the city’s diverse communities, and not an anti-Semitic statement.
“It was a project about crossing the road … how everyone is different, everyone has an identity. There is not only one sign in the street. I put more signs up in the street, but only this one got noticed. I am sorry for any offense caused,” Franck Allais told the paper.
Allais said he was “left shaken” by the uproar his artwork had caused.
Several other of Allais’s other signs were spotted around the city in recent days, including ones depicting silhouettes of a woman pulling a shopping cart and a man pushing his wheelchair and a cat.
Here's one of the other signs – put up in Egerton Road N16 pic.twitter.com/cnUcs12Xp9
— Jonathan Savage (@JSavageTweets) March 15, 2017
The sign in Stamford Hill is set to be removed on Wednesday by the city council.
The Jewish community in Britain is on high alert, amid “unprecedented” levels of anti-Semitism in the country, according to a recent report released by the Community Security Trust (CST).
The report indicated that anti-Semitism incidents rose by 36 percent in 2016, with 1,309 incidents reported over the year — the highest on record.