'Diabolical' Anti-Semitic Vandalism at UK Cemetery

Graves knocked over and defaced at Manchester cemetery; city led UK in anti-Semitism in 2011 but said to be improving.

Ari Yashar ,

Swastikas on Jewish graves (illustration)
Swastikas on Jewish graves (illustration)

A "diabolical" anti-Semitic vandalism attack on a Jewish cemetery in England's northern city of Manchester left gravestones knocked over and defaced with racist graffiti.

In the vandalism attack roughly 40 gravestones were toppled over, and anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas were scrawled on the graves, reported BBC on Tuesday.

Bernard Freeman, an 88-year-old who came to visit his mother's grave, was shocked to discover it had been knocked over.

"I come here to say a prayer to my mother and my father and tell them in my own way about the children, the grandchildren and great grandchildren - to come here and find this, it's diabolical, it really is," said Freeman.

"This is a sickening and cruel act of racism," said Inspector Mike Reid of the Greater Manchester Police.

Reid added "the vandalism of a gravestone is, in itself, a sickening act but to violate the memory of those resting in the cemetery still further by daubing racial slurs on the graves is truly repulsive. I cannot begin to get into the mind of someone who would commit such an atrocity."

Manchester outpaced London in 2011 as the UK city with the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents. However, Manchester's Jewish Community Security Trust claimed the anti-Semitism has dropped, adding "we hope this is is an isolated incident."

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe in general, with a full 1% of the French Jewish community expected to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) by the end of the year following numerous violent anti-Semitic attacks.