|An image from the surveillance video shows the suspect. [FCPD]|
Surveillance video captured images of a suspect spray-painting the building around 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 6. At around 8 a.m., staff discovered 19 swastikas painted on the exterior of the building, located at 8900 Little River Turnpike on the western edge of Annandale.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Mason Police District, 703-256-8035. Tips can be submitted anonymously to Crime Solvers, 866-411-TIPS.
In April 2017, the JCC and the nearby Little River United Church of Christ were vandalized with swastikas and other hateful imagery, and anti-Semitic flyers were found on the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Dylan Mahone, 20, or Annandale, was arrested for those hate-related crimes.
This spring, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, at 8922 Little River Turnpike, was hit by seven hate crime incidents, including anti-Semitic and racist graffiti and destruction of property. No one has been arrested for those crimes.
Regarding the latest incident at the JCC, Jeff Dannick, the center’s executive director, and David Yaffee, president of the Board of Directors, sent an email to the community stating: “These acts do not represent the community around the J or the community in Northern Virginia. As we also know, our neighboring churches also have suffered recent vandalism. The J as a whole, and particularly through the focused efforts of our Committee for a Just and Caring Community, will continue to participate as a positive force in both the Jewish and wider communities.”
“We are grateful to the local law enforcement officials who are working to identify and bring to justice the person or persons who committed this crime,” the message states. “As always, our community’s safety will be our priority as we remain committed to fulfilling our daily mission as a community center. We will continue our extensive security measures and ask the community to remain alert and vigilant.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) commented on Twitter, stating, “An insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism is happening in Virginia and across the country. We must meet it with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity. We cannot allow hate to fester.”
The number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. has risen nearly 60 percent from 2016 to 2017, the Anti-Defamation League reported in February. There were 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, including physical assaults, vandalism, and attacks on Jewish institutions.
According to the ADL, “These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups, and widening divisions in society.”