Printed from

It is not vandalism!

Thursday, 5 January, 2012 - 5:21 pm

Like the rest of the Jewish and general community, I am still shocked and pained by the terrible desecration at the Jewish cemetery in Victoria. Last weekend, headstones were defiled with swastikas and graffiti against Jews. Let’s be very clear about it.

Making a trip in the middle of the night to a Jewish cemetery and painting swastikas on headstones is not vandalism—it is pure anti-Semitism.

The haters who came in the dark to paint Nazi symbols in a Jewish cemetery knew precisely what swastikas are and this is the reason they sprayed it in a Jewish sacred place. It does not matter if it was youngsters or older people; this came from hate of the Jewish people in its ugliest form. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand; this is part of the world-wide anti-Semitism that is very real.

My Faith is a matter of public record. As a rabbi in the community, I can say proudly that we live in a city that represents acceptance and respect. I rarely encounter any hate or disrespect from Victoria’s residences. We know that Vancouver Island is a safe place for people of all faiths. However, when hatred surfaces, all people need to stand together and say in a clear voice: there is no place for Jew haters or any other hatred in our society!

The answer to this incident is not with hate but with love—love for Judaism. These kinds of events require us to increase in our Jewish pride and knowledge and to be messengers of a loving Judaism, which brings to a world of goodness, kindness and peace.

Comments on: It is not vandalism!

Marvin Sharpe wrote...

As "Jews" we love "Judiaism" but loving "Judiaism" will not stop hatred for Jews. The anti-Semites are now using the fallacious reasoning of the Israel/Palestinian situation to come out of the woodwork. All of our pleading for peace and love has not worked for over 2000 years. Why should it now. As diaspora Jews we should not look for acceptance. We are citizens of this or any other country and being Jewish should not make it necessry for us to look for "acceptance".

Maxine Fisher wrote...

Thank you Rabbi Kaplan for posting a response that is real. I do not believe reaching out to the people who did this is an answer. Evil does exist in this world hate is real and often deadly. I see this as a personal issue as a Jewish woman and a global issue as a human being.

Dr. David Heft wrote...

Marshall Rosenberg writes about the need for empathy in his concept of non violent communication which he actively applies to his discussions in dealing with antisemitism with the palestinians. It makes sense in that it encourages deep rooted feelings rather than impulsive responses to be put on the table, leading to a better understanding of the other's needs.

I would agree with the continuation of applying this concept in dealing with those who stereotype us and use us as scapegoats in a world which is engulfed in financial and political uncertainty.

However, as imortant as it is for the jewish people to show empathy, it is equally important for us all to demonstrate that the diaspora will never again sit quietly to watch the black clouds of antisemitism gather force without standing together to let our oppressors know that we do in fact carry a very big stick. Now is not the time for silence. Stand tall and let your voices be heard.


Bradly Fisher wrote...

I am all for non violent communication and don't believe we should use violence or hatred against the people that perpetrated this crime. I do believe though that this is a hate crime and that who ever perpetrated the crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Our democracy protects our rights and this is a violation of our rights. Our rights as Canadian Jews are as precious as any other ethnic group in Canada and all of our rights need to be protected. These people should be held accountable! This isn't just an act against Jews it's an act against anyone who isn't of the majority! We'll see what the majority does or if the same old conventioan attitudes towards ethnic minorities in Canada still persist!

Maxine Fisher M. Ed. wrote...

Empathy is often a meaningful and real response to many situations, however, if some one attacks a person or their property with violent words, actions, or threats I do not believe that empathy is an authentic or helpful reaction for most of us. I do believe that the people responsible should be treated with fairness but be held accountable for their actions according to the law. I do not believe empathy is necessary in order to be fair and respectful.

Yehudit Rachel Mirel wrote...

I am never amazed at people who attack Jews around the world. I have witnessed attacks on
Jewish sacred places. It makes me sad when it hits home. I find Victoria so far to be safe and open to Jews. I want justice and those who did this to have to get what they deserve for this act on jewish sacred place where our family has been laid to rest.

Gerald B Stanford wrote...

In World War II Canadians stood tall and fought the forces of evil and oppression which were symbolized by the swastika, which seventy years later was sprayed on the gravestones of people who had worked to b uild up Victoria into the capital of our Province.  Isn't that desecration the ultimate act of treachery and betrayal of our early citizens and of those who fought for freedom in the war, and of the many who gave their lives to defeat what the swastika symbolized.  Thge desecrator(s) should look back to that time to see if those fighters and those who died for them included their own grandfathers or relatives, and whether the acts of desecration were wortrhy of the lives they gave for our freedom.  The desecrator(s) are not worthy of being called "Canadians"!  On Sunday, and always, we should all stand tall united in respect and pride to counter their filthy stains and warped minds.

monica nelson wrote...

The gathering at the cemetery today will hopefully lessen a sense of 'us' and 'them' in the Victoria Jewish community. Most people in Victoria were embarassed and appalled by the desecration which had occurred. The large numbers in attendance however, also made it very clear that being in the majority no longer means we will simply stand back and quietly let such shameful things occur to those groups of smaller numbers.

I recognized people in attendance from many different Christian denominations and also, a Muslim leader of note. I am also quite certain there were people there of no particular faith or affiliation.

If this had happened in the Ross Bay Cemetery (as unfortunately, it does occur) the response would not have been so great. So I hope the message has gone out to those involved that such disrespect will no longer be accepted. And for those who have been more directly wounded, that you are not as alone and vulnerable as your children were in generations past.

The world is changing. Slowly of course, but by keeping the doors open to one another, humanity is able to more forward.

Jojilissy wrote...

KKLA Sports Apparel Co., Inc was established in 2000 in ZeJiang, China. Now it has 12 nbrach companies around China. We are a worldwide wholesaler of Sports Apparel (Football Jersey,Soccer Jersey,baseball Jersey,Basketball Jersey,Icehockey Jersey). Our company consists of design, develop, produce, sale and service. Now we have more than 6 professional factories for our own products. Professional QC for professional products and service.You can mix NFL NFL MLB MLB NBA NHL Jerseysdifferent styles and sizes. And there is no mini order for you, Lowest price and Best service. Let's be friends and business partner. Don't hesitate to contact with us if you need anytime. We can supply those all NFL MLB NHL NBA Soccer Teams,such as NFL Teams: Buffalo Bills Jersey , Cincinnati Bengals Jersey , Green Bay Packers Jersey,Houston Texans Jersey , New England Patriots Jersey, Oakland Raiders Jerse, Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey , St. Louis Rams Jersey, Tennessee Titans Jersey ,NHL Teams : Boston Bruins Jersey ,Calgary Flames Jersey , Detroit Red Wings Jersey ,Edmonton Oilers Jersey , Nashville Predators Jersey , Ottawa Senators Jersey , Phoenix Coyotes Jersey ,Quebec Nordiques Jersey , Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey , NBA Teams: Charlotte Bobcats Jersey , Denver Nuggets Jersey , Memphis Grizzlies Jersey , New Orleans Hornets Jersey, Oklahoma City Thunder Jersey , Phoenix Suns Jersey ,San Antonio Spurs Jersey , Kobe Bryant Jerseys Jersey ,MLB Teams: Baltimore Orioles Jersey ,Chicago Cubs Jersey , Houston Astros Jersey ,Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Jersey ,New York Mets Jersey ,Pittsburgh Pirates Jersey , St.Louis Cardinals Jersey , Toronto Blue Jays Jersey ,Soccer Teams: Chelsea Jersey, Inter Milan Jersey , Marseilles Jersey , Chile Jersey, Germany Jersey ,Mexico Jersey and so on