The Holocaust Memorial at Buttonwood Park, Massachusetts was vandalized sometime Thursday night or Friday morning, South Coast Today reported.
Police said the vandal or vandals spray-painted the word "Sudan" on two sides of the monument, in what seemed to be an apparent reference to news reports blaming Israel for the bombing of a Sudanese ammunition depot last week.
The three-sided monument features a large, bronze hand reaching skyward from an inscribed stone pedestal.
Detective Capt. Steven Vicente, head of the Major Crimes Unit, said that while city workers cleaned the graffiti Friday morning, they were unable to remove it all.
"We don't have any leads at this point, so we're hoping someone from the public saw something," he said, adding that there are no surveillance cameras in the area.
Rabbi Rafael Kanter of Tifereth Israel Congregation said he is concerned the vandalism might be permanent, although he believes that over time it will fade completely. "You can still see the outline but I think with the weather it will disappear," he said, according to the paper.
"It's a concern that people chose to express themselves that way," he added.
Stuart Forman, president of the Jewish Federation of New Bedford, said the entire city should be "offended" by the vandalism, explaining the monument enjoyed widespread community support when it was erected in 1998.
"It's a crime against the entire community. When you attack one of us, you attack all of us," he said.
The Anti-Defamation League, based in Boston, also condemned the vandalism in a statement.
"This crime is a sad reminder that anti-Semitism is still with us, and it is especially hurtful for Holocaust survivors and those personally impacted by the Holocaust," said Derrek L. Shulman, ADL New England regional director.