Content advisory: This story contains an image of antisemitic graffiti.
Antisemitic graffiti was found under a bridge off Josiah Henson Parkway on a pedestrian tunnel near Tildenwood Drive in North Bethesda Sunday evening.
A swastika and the words “CLUB ARYAN EXCELLENT” were painted in large, bright orange letters on the stone wall on the side of the tunnel and were still visible Monday when a MoCo360 reporter visited the site.
Second District police officers initially responded to the scene Sunday around 7:53 p.m. for a report of “hate-based vandalisms.” Police say there are no suspects in custody.
A police officer arrived at the scene Monday around 2:45 p.m., and told MoCo360 he was sent to survey the incident, take photos and then cover up the graffiti.
The neighborhood around the pedestrian tunnel has a large Jewish population and is within a mile of B’nai Israel Congregation, The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Bender JCC of Greater Washington and the Hebrew Home Of Greater Washington.
County Councilmember Kate Stewart (D-Dist. 4), whose district includes North Bethesda, strongly condemned the antisemitic graffiti on social media.
Gil Preuss, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, issued a statement Monday afternoon condemning the graffiti.
“We are deeply disturbed by the racist and antisemitic message found under a bridge of Josiah Henson Parkway in North Bethesda, MD,” Preuss said. “This hateful rhetoric has no place in our society. Our community will continue to stand strong and resilient in the face of hatred, racism, and antisemitism in all its forms.”
He also said the organization is working on ensuring community members feel safe.
“We are working closely with our security team and Montgomery County Department of Police to keep our community safe and learn more about this incident. Please continue to report security concerns or incidents to our security team at https://www.shalomdc.org/incidentreporting.”
Stewart also said that residents should report similar incidents to Montgomery County Police at 301-279-8000 as soon as they are seen.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.