Several US synagogues vandalized after deadly Pittsburgh massacre

Just days after the worst anti-Semitic attack in America’s history was perpetrated, several incidents targeting Jews occurred across the country.


Anti-Semitism reared its head again last week when the Beit Yaakov synagogue in Irvine, California was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti overnight Tuesday, just three days after a shooting massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, a political event scheduled for Thursday night at the historic Union Temple synagogue in Brooklyn was canceled after anti-Semitic epithets that included “die Jew rats we are here,” “Jews better be ready,” and “Hitler” were scrawled on the premises.

The police announced Friday night that they had arrested James Polite, 26, on charges that he created the anti-Semitic graffiti. He faces charges of criminal mischief, which the police classified as a hate crime, and making graffiti.

Polite has Jewish foster parents and was an intern for former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – for whom he worked on initiatives to combat hate crime. He was also a volunteer on former U.S. President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.

Polite was taken to a hospital in Brooklyn for a psychiatric evaluation.

Local police said Saturday that Polite had also recently set a string of fires – including in the closet of Yeshiva Beth Hillel in Williamsburg, and smaller blazes in the trash receptacles outside three other nearby Jewish institutions, the New York Post reported.

In 2017, Polite was the subject of a New York Times profile, in which he was described as black, gay and bipolar.

The New York Post also reported that last year, Polite created an alter ego, “Abraham Aali,” on Facebook, and in the early morning hours before Thursday night’s synagogue vandalism he spewed in a post: “N–s have no soul or conscious [sic]. They’ll eat they’re [sic] own family before they do any kinda work.”