Antisemitism is rising globally. We are seeing this in mainstream media with prominent figures such as Elon Musk, who recently tweeted out a picture of a Nazi soldier with the caption “how times have changed”. This builds into an existing pattern of his, citing back to earlier this year when he tweeted out a picture of Hitler declaring admiration for his budget, which involved millions of dollars to execute the “Final Solution”, resulting in the deliberate genocide of six million Jewish people.
We are also seeing it attack our local communities.
Bethesda Trolley Trail and Tuckerman Lane in Montgomery County were vandalized overnight with extremist antisemitic graffiti calling for violence against Jewish Marylanders. This isn’t the first time antisemitic rhetoric has been graffitied on Bethesda Trolley Trail or in the wider Maryland. “White Power” and “1488” were similary spraypainted in red on the trail in August of this year.
Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive, said in a statement this morning that “...we must combat these tragic and despicable incidents through unity in every neighborhood and community throughout the County. We are one of the most diverse jurisdictions anywhere in the world and now is a time when we need to use it to make us stronger. We must support and uplift our Jewish community during this time and we must continue to not tolerate hate in any form in Montgomery County, the state of Maryland and in this nation.”
At the current time, no one has been arrested for this hate crime.
Now is the time to stand with Jewish Marylanders, and to educate yourself on antisemitism and dogwhistles when they appear. The graffiti included swastikas, white power symbols, and the numbers 1488 and 133. Notably, 1488 is a numerical neo-Nazi dogwhistles that joins the “14 words”, a white supremacist slogan “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” coined by David Lane, combined with “88”, which refers to the eighth letter in the alphabet, “H”. “88” means “HH”, or Heil Hitler. “131” refers to “NSC-131”, a neo-Nazi and white-supremacist group known as the Nationalist Socialist Club that has chapters throughout New England. Being able to recognize antisemitism when it occurs is essential to holding your community accountable on a local and large scale.
Progressive Maryland stands in solidarity with Jewish Marylanders. Swift action was taken to remove the graffiti, but that cannot be where our effort ends. There is so much more work to be done to ensure the safety of our Jewish community in Maryland. We must support and uplift the greater Jewish community in Maryland during this time, and continue to be intolerant of hate and antisemitic violence on a wider scale.
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