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Rabbi condemns anti-Semitic graffiti in Shenley

 Published on: 11th January 2019   |   By: Charlie Reynolds   |   Category: Uncategorized

Areas of Shenley were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti earlier this month, with a fence on Southerton Way reading ‘JEW GHETTO’.

One of the three spottings was a star on a fence belonging to Jewish Hertsmere Borough Councillor Anthony Spencer, who told MyRadlettNews: “Seeing it was really not nice, it felt like Nazi Germany.”

Police have confirmed that all three incidents are linked and are being investigated. 

Officers were called just before 9.20am on Monday, January 7 to the reports of offensive graffiti on a fence in Porters Park Drive. 

As part of their enquiries they became aware of two further incidents of graffiti – on a fence at Shenley Chapel in Porters Park Drive and also onto a wall of the chapel itself, which acts as a place of worship for both Jews and Christians. 

Cllr Spencer recalled the moment he saw the graffiti on the fence of his Shenley home: “I had the star on my fence and seeing it, it felt like Nazi Germany. 

“I had distant relatives that were lost in the Second World War and it’s just not a nice feeling to see something like that.

He also admitted he is unsure of whether it was a targeted attack.

He said: “It could have been targeted, it’s possible. But I feel it could have been copycat kids, who have just seen stuff like this before and decided to copy it.

“I don’t think it’s a Nazi group, I think it’s most likely young kids in the area.”

Speaking about the impact the graffiti has had on the community, the councillor said: “This has offended so many people in Shenley, Jewish people, but I’ve also seen a lot of non-Jewish people condemn it and take offence.

“There is a rise of anti-Semitism going on in this country, and I’m not exactly sure why it’s cropping up so much but it’s definitely there.

“I think we live in difficult times, especially with things like Brexit going on, and history has shown us that in these difficult times, minorities do get picked on.

“It happened in Germany, where Jews were blamed for the poor economy before the Second World War, and it’s happening today, not just with Jews.” 

Cllr Spencer is also on the Shenley Parish Council, and his colleague, councillor Rosemary Gilligan also commented, saying: “People are really upset about it. 

“It’s a really difficult one to deal with, there’s plenty of silly young people living nearby, but is it just stupid kids or is there something more we need to deal with?”

MyRadlettNews spoke to Rabbi Jonathan Hughes, from Radlett United Synagogue.

“Shenley is a community that fits in well with society,” He said.

“It’s an innocuous, peace-loving community and the last place I’d call a ‘Jew ghetto’.

“The act was probably carried out by silly, immature children who are not well educated enough to in the history of where these symbols came from, and what they can lead to.

“I’m sure they wouldn’t be proud to be linked with those who used the symbols in history and sprouted hate. 

“I hope they grow up one day and reflect on the seriousness of hate speech and hope they become more adult, mature and respectful of people in the community.

“We create ghettos with the language we use and the way we treat people. A ghetto is created by those who wish to marginalise and degrade others, singling them out.”  

PC Sophie Stalley, from the Potters Bar and Shenley Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We have received numerous phone calls and emails from people reporting this graffiti and understand that it has caused concern among the local community. 

“After officers attended this morning (January 7), they quickly arranged for the graffiti to be removed and this is being carried out as soon as possible to prevent any further upset. 

“All of these incidents are being linked and enquiries are currently on-going.

“Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or has information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact police by calling the non-emergency number 101, quoting ISR 137 of January 7 or report information online at 

www.herts.police.uk/Report

“If you’d prefer to stay anonymous you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or submit details via their untraceable online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Have your say: Does Shenley and Radlett have a problem with racism/anti-Semitism? Email newsroom@mynewsmag.co.uk to make your thoughts known.

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