ADL Denounces Anti-Semitic Graffiti, Offers Reward For Information On Hate Crime

Swastika-Fraternity

The Davis Police Department is continuing its investigation into the reported hate crime that occurred in in the early morning hours of January 31, 2015. Sometime between 2:00 am and approximately 9:50 am, the AEPi fraternity house, located in the 100 block of Russell Blvd., was vandalized when yet-to-be-identified perpetrators marked the home with two swastikas.

From the start, the Davis police noted that, without video surveillance on the fraternity premises, they would need help from the community to find out who committed the act. Now the police report that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has contacted the Davis Police Department and is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator(s) responsible for the vandalism.

The ADL Central Pacific regional director in San Francisco issued a statement on Monday denouncing “the hate crime committed against the UC Davis Jewish community.” Seth Brysk said, “It is deeply shocking and thoroughly repugnant any time a swastika is employed against the Jewish community.”

He continued, “It is even more offensive that this act of anti-Semitism was committed during the same week the world commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz from the Nazis.”

Mr. Brysk also saw a connection between the ASUCD Divestment vote and the crime. He said, “We are extremely concerned that this hate crime occurred directly on the heels of a UCD Student Senate vote supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS activists have been known to employ Holocaust imagery and themes in an attempt to garner support for their cause.”

He added, “We commend Chancellor Linda Katehi for her strong statement condemning the vandalism and appreciate her sensitivity to the particular offense it caused. And we are grateful the Davis Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime.”

Finally he stated, “During a debate at UC Berkeley, BDS supporters used the epithet “Zizi” (i.e., Zionist Nazi) on Twitter to describe students who opposed their extreme program to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist and deny Jewish self-determination.”

A host of groups from UC Davis, which were very quick to denounce the attack, included: Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis; Muslim Student Association at UC Davis; Arab Student Union at UC Davis; Pakistani Student Association at UC Davis; Afghan Student Association at UC Davis; M.E.Ch.A. de UC Davis; Black Student Union at UC Davis; Sikh Cultural Association at UC Davis; S.M.A.R.T. (Students Matter: Activism, Retention, Teamwork) Coalition; Officers of the Davis Unit, UAW 2865; Hannah Kagen-Moore, Davis Unit UAW 2865; Duane Wright, Davis Unit UAW 2865; Mai Sartawi, National Lawyer’s Guild; Claire White, Student National Vice President, National Lawyer’s Guild; Gonzalo Cortes Moreno, Lawyer and Constitutional Law Professor (King Law School); and Armando Figueroa, ASUCD President .

Their statement read: “As a coalition of students and campus organizations at UC Davis, we condemn the actions taken sometime during the night of January 31st, 2015 by an unknown person(s) who defaced the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, which is a Jewish interest fraternity, with swastikas.

“Just as we condemned the hanging of a noose, the defamation of the Palestinian dove, or calling students ‘terrorists’ based on their physical appearance or beliefs, we equally condemn the display of the swastika. This reminds us that anti-Semitism, along with all other forms of hate, including, but not limited to, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny, still exist and are rampant trans-nationally and on our university campuses.”

They added: “We reject any attempts to blame this on any single student community, including the UC Davis Divestment movement. We hope that the university investigates and exercises due diligence in holding those responsible for this hate crime to the fullest extent of the law.”

Alpha Epsilon Pi spokesman Nathaniel Bernhard, a third-year student in economics and political science, in an interview with the Sacramento Bee downplayed the connection between the ASUCD vote and the swastikas.

Mr. Bernhard told the Bee, “It’s tough to have it all (happen) in one week, but a direct link is unfair.”

The university has seen hate crimes before, the Bee referenced. “In August 2013, during the week of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., vandals smashed more than 30 windows on campus and scrawled a racial slur on a chalkboard at Dutton Hall. That building houses the financial aid office, student judicial affairs and other services.”

On Saturday UC Davis officials, including Chancellor Linda Katehi, Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Adela de la Torre, issued a strong statement of condemnation.

“This morning students at a UC Davis Jewish fraternity discovered despicable and hateful graffiti on their walls, including a large red swastika that appeared to be spray-painted on the exterior of the house,” the joint statement read. “This kind of behavior is not only repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear, it is unacceptable and must not be tolerated on our campus or anywhere else.

“No matter what religious, political or personal beliefs we hold, as members of a university community we have an obligation to treat each other with respect and dignity, even when we disagree,” they continued. “Nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members, but this odious symbol is an affront to us all. As campus leaders, we are saddened and outraged that this occurred in our community.

“As our Principles of Community demonstrate, UC Davis is built on a foundation of tolerance and inclusion, and when those principles are violated in such a reprehensible manner, we have all been violated,” they said.

“We have requested that the police investigate this act of vandalism as a hate crime. We appeal to every member of our UC Davis community to denounce any and all such acts of bigotry and intimidation,” the chancellor concluded. “We must instead demonstrate to the world that no matter what issue or debate we engage in, we are a community committed to mutual respect and tolerance. No single act such as this will ever define us, but we must define ourselves as a university community that has no tolerance for prejudice or such an abhorrent symbol and the history of hatred it evokes and extends.”

The police are seeking help. Anyone with information regarding this crime is encouraged to call Davis Police Department, (530) 747-5400.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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33 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has contacted the Davis Police Department and is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator(s) responsible for the vandalism.

    It’s a start, but I think it’s going to take more than $2500 for someone to rat out someone they might know who did this.  We never did find out who put the noose on the goal posts.

    1. Davis Progressive

      we’re not going to find this out either, the reward is just for show.  but it does demonstrate that the incident has a bit more legs than david was predicting last weekend.

      1. Alan Miller

        “the incident has a bit more legs than david was predicting last weekend.”

        Well, y’know, blacks have a higher victimie rating than Jews “they” say.

  2. sisterhood

    Arrest them, convict them, make them watch/listen to holocaust survivor documentaries, give them only one book in jail-The Diary of Ann Frank. If the person is illiterate, make them listen to it via books on tape. Oh, and teach the person to read. Tattoo their arrest number on them.

    1. South of Davis

      Sisterhood wrote:

      > Tattoo their arrest number on them.

      It is sad when the ACLU who says they are for “freedom” wants to take away the ability of people they don’t like (the cops) to have the freedom to video people in a public place (as Phil comments on in another topic today) and when someone who thinks it was horrible to tattoo Jews says we should tattoo people they don’t like (taggers)…

       

        1. South of Davis

          DP wrote:

          > when you are watched, you change your behavior.

          I agree, the question is who get’s to watch (and video) others in a public place?

          Should only “Progressives” have iPhones with video cameras?

        2. Barack Palin

          Good point SOD.  What if a protester inadvertently films another protester while at some cause?  Is that protester curtailing the other protester’s freedom?  Should no cameras be allowed in public ever?

        3. Matt Williams

          DP, there is a big difference between selective targeted surveillance of private citizens on private property and police body cameras documenting police actions on public property, or in the course of discharging their public safety duties on either public or private property.

          I certainly know that I would have preferred it if the Utah State Policeman had had a body camera in operation when he drew his revolver on my wife and me when I reached into the glove compartment for our car registration and insurance card. We have no idea what prior event had caused him to be so skittish, especially when he had just asked for “license, registration and insurance,” but he was. The camera would have documented him shooting us if it had come to that.

          A camera recording of every time a trooper/officer unholsters his/her gun would provide invaluable teaching opportunities for those responsible for the management and training of that trooper/officer (all troopers/officers in fact). It would also substantially eliminate the “he said, she said” situations that often play out in courtrooms … costing the taxpayers countless dollars and in some cases making an informed jury decision very difficult to arrive at.

        4. hpierce

          And, had the frat had a video surveillance camera, we’d likely know who the perp(s) is/are.  And even if they didn’t, if there was a visible SIGN saying the property was under video surveillance, this might have never happened.  Oh, but that would be wrong, because we would have taken away the freedom of the “hate” taggers. And, if we find the folk(s) responsible, the LAST thing we’d want to do is to ‘curtail their freedom’ – like make them see “jail time”.  Right again, DP.  Gotta’ go with that absolute “freedom” thing.

          1. Matt Williams

            DP, if the surveillance camera is on the body of the police officer, documenting the police officer’s interactions, how would that be a parallel to the fraternity having a surveillance camera on their property?

        5. Barack Palin

          he drew his revolver on my wife and me when I reached into the glove compartment for our car registration and insurance card

          Come on now Matt, we’re led to believe that only happens to blacks.  DP will now post they would’ve shot the black guy.  DP, I’m sorry to ruin your punch line.

  3. sisterhood

    Should California have a convicted hate crime registry, similar to its sex offender registry? Anyone convicted of a hate crime on a list on the web for the rest of his/her life? Even if case later expunged, name on the registry forever? Different levels of the registry ranging from zip code only through very dangerous? Do you want to know if your next door neighbor hates Jews or Blacks or Muslims or LGBT, and was arrested and convicted of defacing property or beating someone or scaring innocent people who were minding their own business?

    1. South of Davis

      sisterhood wrote:

      > Do you want to know if your next door neighbor hates Jews or Blacks or Muslims or LGBT

      How about if your next door neighbor hates Christians or Whites or Hindus or Straight people that think you can Pray Away the Gay?

      Why is only a “hate crime” when the person “hates” SOME people?

      1. Davis Progressive

        from the fbi: “Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.””

        so under state and federal law, hate crimes can be crimes against white christians too if hate was a motivating factor in the crime.

        1. Davis Progressive

          lot of variables wrapped into that question – we would need to know the number of hate crimes that would definitionally fit the description of a hate crime, the number of prosecutions, and then compare them to the percentage of all hate crimes that are directed toward straight, white, christian males.    i have no idea, let me know when you get the data and we can discuss.

        2. South of Davis

          DP wrote:

          > it’s very few out of very few.

          When I typed hate crime in to Google News I got over 15 MILLION hits (including a couple on the recent UCD incident), so it looks like there are more than “very few” hate crimes.

          After clicking through about 100 I gave up after not finding a single one with a straight, white christian “victim”…

        3. Davis Progressive

          “When I typed hate crime in to Google News I got over 15 MILLION hits (including a couple on the recent UCD incident), so it looks like there are more than “very few” hate crimes.”

          the point is that there are very few hate crimes committed with white, christian male victims, so naturally there are going to be few prosecutions.

        4. Barack Palin

          the point is that there are very few hate crimes committed with white, christian male victims, so naturally there are going to be few prosecutions.

          The point is that there are many hate crimes committed against white, christian male victims but our justice system choses to turn its head the other way.

        5. tribeUSA

          Re: DP “the point is that there are very few hate crimes committed with white, christian male victims, so naturally there are going to be few prosecutions.”

          That proves it–Us white christian males are just too adorable to be hated! Feel the love!

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