Police open probe after Virginia JCC vandalized with 19 swastikas

Senator Tim Kaine says incident is part of ‘insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism’ as community center targeted for second time in just over a year

Illustrative: Swastikas found spray-painted on the JCC in Fairfax, Virginia, on October 6, 2018. (Screen capture/Twitter)
Illustrative: Swastikas found spray-painted on the JCC in Fairfax, Virginia, on October 6, 2018. (Screen capture/Twitter)

Virginia police opened an investigation on Saturday into an apparent hate crime at a Jewish Community Center in Fairfax where 19 swastikas were found spray-painted onto the building’s outer walls.

Local authorities released photos from security camera footage, which showed a suspect arriving at the scene and defacing the JCC at around 4:30 a.m. early Saturday morning.

Building staff noticed the vandalism when they arrived to open the building at 7:00 a.m., the JCC’s Executive Director David Yaffe told local media.

“As many of us recognize, these acts do not represent the community around the J or the community in Northern Virginia,” JCC leadership said in a statement.

“The J as a whole, and particularly through the focused efforts of our Committee for a Just and Caring Community, will continue to participate as a positive force in both the Jewish and wider communities.”

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine referred to the incident as part of a broader “insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism.”

“We must meet it with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity. We cannot allow hate to fester,” he tweeted.

The same Fairfax JCC was targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti in April 2017.

“Hitler was right” swastikas and the SS symbol were found spray-painted on the exterior of the JCC building. In addition, “Defend America; No Muslims,” was spray-painted on the door of a nearby church. “Jesus knows no traitors” was written over the church’s Holy Week schedule, and a sign that read “Say NO to anti-Muslim bigotry” was crossed out.

Twenty-year old Dylan Mahone was subsequently arrested for the incident and charged with four counts of felony destruction of property, one count of placing a swastika on religious property with intent to intimidate, two counts of wearing a mask in public to conceal one’s identity, and one count of posting hateful posters on the college’s campus.

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