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Pomona College memorial for Pittsburgh victims vandalized

By Jackson Richman/(JNS) – A mural at Pomona College that reads “Antisemitism exists. Acknowledge it,” in remembrance of the deadliest attack in American Jewish history has been defaced at least twice. Just days after the shooting, which killed 11 people at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the word “Antisemitism” was erased. Sometime later, the memorial was vandalized with the words “Palestine exists. Acknowledge it,” and a Palestinian flag was painted.

Pomona alum Katherine Dolgenos shared images of the mural defaced and expressed her disdain in a Facebook post, which she gave JNS permission to quote: “This mural has nothing to do with Israel. Its message should not be controversial in any way. I loved my time at Pomona, and I love the Claremont Colleges, but their inability or unwillingness to address antisemitism is ridiculous.”

Senior Hallie Goldstein says “the biggest problem is that aside from a handful of outraged Jewish students, nobody is talking about this. Not our administrations, not our school newspapers, not our campus minority groups; no one. What stings the most is that whenever any other minority group is targeted in some way, all five of our colleges are buzzing with conversation, with statements of condemnation, with student-written articles and with support resources. However, it is [always] a double standard whenever Jews are the subject of a hate crime or discriminatory act.”

A spokesperson for Pomona College did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

AMCHA founder and director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin told JNS, “A mural that honors victims of the Pittsburgh massacre–the deadliest incident of antisemitism in U.S. history–and that also acknowledges the frightening spike in antisemitism across our country is grotesquely desecrated with anti-Israel graffiti,” she continued. “What makes matters worse is that while the antisemitism that comes from the extreme right is promptly acknowledged and condemned by university leaders, the anti-Israel antisemitism that comes from the extreme left, which is what we see a lot of on campus, is often excused as political speech and permitted.”

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