UK: Neo-Nazis Vandalize Jewish Monument

Video shows anti-Semitic thugs spraying graffiti, unraveling Nazi flag on Chabad Menorah in Birmingham, as London Nazi rally looms.

Ari Soffer ,

Vandals draped a swastika over the Menorah (illustrative)
Vandals draped a swastika over the Menorah (illustrative)

British police are investigating the vandalism of a Jewish monument by a neo-Nazi gang, just weeks before a Nazi rally is set to take place targeting the heart of London's Jewish community.

West Midlands police say they are examining a video posted on YouTube by a group called National Action, which shows several fascists vandalizing a Menorah set up by Chabad in Cannon Hill Park in the city of Birmingham.

National Action is a relatively new far-right group that has hit headlines with a series of racist flash mobs, as well as an expose by a British paper which revealed its members were being trained at a paramilitary-style camp in the English countryside.

The Daily Mirror expose showed one fascist at the camp boasting about building a "new SS," and saying he would be showing other recruits ISIS propaganda. That report led to an investigation by counter-terrorism police.

The video shows several young men, wearing latex gloves and with their faces blurred to hide their identities, spraying anti-Semitic graffiti and tying anti-Semitic propaganda on to the Menorah, after which they are seen draping a swastika flag over it.

Maggie Suissa, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), said authorities needed to reassure the Jewish community by tracking down and arresting the culprits. 

"It’s disgusting but dishearteningly this isn’t surprising. Jewish people need reassurance, genuine security and the promise from counter terrorism that this group will not continue to get away with spreading their Nazi hatred," she told the Birmingham Mail.

Police say they are treating the incident as a case of religiously-aggravated vandalism.

"We are aware of a video on YouTube which appears to show religiously aggravated vandalism in Cannon Hill Park," West Midlands Police spokeswoman Inspector Rachel Crump said.

"We take reports of hate crime extremely seriously and would urge anyone with information which would help us identify the people in the images to contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

The vandalism comes less than a month before a neo-Nazi rally is scheduled to take place in London's Golders Green neighborhood, at the heart of the British capital's Jewish community. The rally is provocatively-timed to take place on July 4 - the first Shabbat of the month.

British Jews are growing increasingly concerned over a rise in anti-Semitism both in the UK specifically as well as across the Europe. That anti-Semitism has mostly come from Muslim extremists, but far-right splinter groups in the UK have been attempting to ride the wave of hate with a series of anti-Semitic rallies.