As the Ledger went to press, the Stratford police department was investigating anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on several road signs and a foreclosed residential property near Wilcoxson Avenue and Charlton Street over the weekend.
The Connecticut regional office of the Anti-Defamation League was contacted, and offered assistance to the Stratford police, who sent photos of the graffiti to ADL. The images are being analyzed by hate-symbol experts to determine anything unique or tell-tale about the graffiti.
“When bigots are mad at a Jew or at Israel, they have no problem going after a Jew in any community,” says ADL Connecticut Regional Director Gary Jones.”It is not clear whether the swastikas and SS symbols are connected in any way with the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“The good news is that law enforcement and our leaders are concerned and want to catch the perpetrators and make sure that the community knows where they stand,” Jones says. “They are making clear that they are not going to tolerate this kind of bigoted behavior in their town.”
As upsetting as this type of incident is, Jones says that it is important to recognize that communities stand in support of those targeted by hate symbols. Teaching people to be allies and not bystanders is at the heart of ADL’s statewide educational programs.
“We want to thank the Stratford police for their cooperation and concern and good work,” Jones says. “From Chief Ridenhour on down, everyone who made statements has shown that they understand how this is a problem and made clear that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated. We’re appreciative that they get it.”