For the second time in three months, the Bethesda Trolley Trail in Wildwood Manor, North Bethesda has been defaced with antisemitic graffiti, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said, in an official release on Monday morning.
Elrich stated he visited the site the first time it was vandalized in August.
“To see this happen again just a few months later is truly upsetting,” Elrich wrote.
According to the statement, a second location at Old Georgetown Road and Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda, was also tagged with more antisemitic graffiti on a brick wall.
“Unfortunately, these are just the latest in an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents across our county and throughout the country,” County Council Member Andrew Friedson (Dist. 1) said on social media. “We will not accept or tolerate anti-Jewish hatred in our community and will not allow antisemitism in any of its forms to be normalized or desensitized. We must continue to come together to make clear that hate has no place here.”
According to Friedson’s statement, police were actively investigating the incident and the Department of Transportation is currently working to get the graffiti cleaned up as soon as possible.
Around 4.30 pm on Monday, Elrich tweeted that all the antisemitic graffiti around the Wildwood Manor area, including some graffiti at a bus stop on Tucker Lane, had now been cleaned up.
Organizations such as StopAntisemitism, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the American Jewish Committee condemned the incident through their social media and press statements.
“It is truly frightening to see the antisemitism that has been set ablaze in the U.S,” StopAntisemitism tweeted on its official social media.
“This is the second time someone has vandalized this public space in Bethesda with atrocious antisemitic graffiti,” Liora Rez, StopAntisemitism’s executive director said in a statement to The Bethesda Beat. “We call on local law enforcement to find and hold the perpetrators accountable for targeted harassment and inciting violence against the Jewish people.”
“Federation is deeply disturbed by the discovery of antisemitic graffiti and flyers in our region this morning, including in Montgomery County and in DC’s Kalorama neighborhood,” Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington said in his statement. “These antisemitic and hateful symbols and materials have no place in our society.”
“The antisemitic graffiti found in Bethesda today is a sickening reminder of the rise of antisemitism in our county. Not two weeks after the Montgomery County Council unanimously condemned hatred of Jews, antisemites are standing up loud and proud,” Alan Ronkin, the director of the AJC’s Washington regional office said in a statement. “The Jewish community will not be intimidated by these vicious messages. We stand together with our friends and allies as a proud and strong community.”
This incident comes just a few weeks after the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution to address and combat antisemitism in Montgomery County on Nov. 1.
The passing of the resolution, which affirmed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, drew mixed reactions since some criticized the IHRA definition, which has been widely accepted by governments in the United States and internationally, and said it encroaches on free speech and conflates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism.