Offensive graffiti in Portland raises concerns over anti-Semitism escalating

PORTLAND (WGME) – As was rages in Israel, concerns of anti-Semitism are growing in Maine.

Offensive graffiti was recently found painted along a walking trail near Portland’s sewage treatment plant.

“I just don’t understand why people hate,” Joseph Azzarelli, who is visiting family from Florida, said.

He and his wife Dianne were appalled while on a walk along the water.

Swastikas and hateful language were spray painted on the wall, including offensive references to Israel and references to NSC-131, a well known neo-Nazi group that was formed in 2019.

CBS13 was tipped off by a viewer about the graffiti and reached out to the Portland Police Department.

Soon after, Portland Public Works came to cover it up Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s a potential for things to escalate and for us to be targeted,” Jewish Community Alliance Executive Director Molly Curren Rowles said. “Anytime that there’s anti-Semitic material, it’s disgusting, dehumanizing and deeply offensive. And contributes to a sense that our community has of not being safe.”

With concerns of synagogues and Jewish people becoming targets across the country, Portland police said Tuesday that they are giving special attention to sensitive areas based on what is happening nationally.

“We are very actively involved with both local law enforcement and also with the federal and state levels,” Curren Rowles said.

The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine says there is something everyone can do to make a difference.

“There is a sense of isolation that happens when any minority religious community is targeted, and so it’s really critical to provide that support. The more that people of all backgrounds can reach out and check on your Jewish friends and family members and neighbors, that really does make a big difference,” Curren Rowles said.

The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine is holding a vigil to mourn the deaths in Israel Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Temple Beth El.

Anyone interested in attending is asked to register online ahead of time.

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, everyday.

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.