Vice President Mike Pence condemned the anti-Semitic graffiti discovered over the weekend at a synagogue in Carmel, Indiana.
In a tweet, Pence, the former governor of the Hoosier State, declared he was “sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism” discovered Saturday at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla.
Sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla; a beautiful synagogue in Carmel, Indiana where I have many good friends. Those responsible must be held accountable. These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end. https://t.co/0h6rKPilda
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) July 29, 2018
Those responsible for tagging the Jewish center with Nazi symbolism, he noted, “must be held accountable,” adding, “These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end.”
Debby Barton Grant, CEO and executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, shared photos of the vandalism found on two walls of a brick shed on the property.
“I’m disgusted and furious tonight that this happened and that my beautiful state of Indiana is one of only five states in the country that lacks a hate crime statute,” Grant wrote in part.
In a statement shared with The Indianapolis Star, leadership at the synagogue said they are working with the Carmel Police Department to resolve the matter:
Since learning of the vandalism, we have focused on working with the Carmel Police, communicating to our congregation, and working with the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis to communicate to other congregations and other Jewish agencies to ensure that they are aware of the event and can take appropriate measures.
In a statement of his own, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) described those responsible for the anti-Semitic vandalism as “cowards.” He said his office, with the aid of the Indiana State Police, the Carmel police and the FBI, “will work to help find those responsible and hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The cowards responsible for these crimes always hide from public scrutiny precisely because they know their actions will be soundly rejected by their neighbors and are not consistent with who we are as a society.
— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) July 29, 2018
A recent survey from the Anti-Defamation League found that, in 2017, anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S. increased by a staggering 57 percent from the year before. Last year, there were 1,986 reported incidents, surpassing the 1,267 reported in 2016.
“We are disturbed by vandalism of Indiana synagogue,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, said in a statement Sunday. “Our Chicago office is in touch with authorities who are investigating whether a hate group was involved. We stand with you Congregation Shaarey Tefillah.”