'Beware of Jews' sign put up yards from London synagogue

Sign showing silhouette of orthodox Jewish man copied from roadside traffic warnings described by Amnesty International as 'cowardly display of hate'

May Bulman
Wednesday 15 March 2017 10:04 GMT
Sign was put up just 200 yards from a synagogue
Sign was put up just 200 yards from a synagogue

A road sign discovered in a Jewish-dominated part of North London that appeared to warn passers-by to “beware of Jews” has been removed.

The sign, spotted by a member of the local Jewish community in Stamford Hill on Monday, depicted what looked like the silhouette of an orthodox Jewish man.

It was put up around 200 yards from a synagogue.

Neighbourhood watch group the Shomrim reported it to Hackney police and the local council on Tuesday afternoon, and it was removed later that evening, a member of the group told The Independent.

Barry Bard, supervisor at Stamford Hill Shomrim, said the sign had made people living nearby anxious.

"The sign has caused a lot of concern amongst local Jewish residents, especially as it's in such close proximity to a synagogue,” Mr Bard said.

Local politicians have spoken out against the sign.

Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott, who is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, described the sign as “disgusting” and “unacceptable”, while David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, tweeted: “Despicable, nasty behaviour that has absolutely no place in our community.”

It is at present unclear who was responsible for the sign or what their motives were, and police are investigating the case.

In response to the incident, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, said in a statement: “This is another shocking example of hateful messaging rearing its ugly head on our streets.

“If history has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot remain silent in the face of such vile behaviour. We need stand together to show that we won’t be divided by these cowardly displays of hate.

“There must be an appropriate response from the authorities to this disturbing event, sending a strong message that such behaviour is totally unacceptable in modern Britain.”

Caroline Selman, Cabinet Member for community safety and enforcement for Hackney Council, told The Independent: “We have received reports about a number of fake warning signs and are ensuring that any that we find are reported to the police so that they can be gathered as evidence.

"We have not found the sign that has appeared in a number of media articles – reports suggest that that sign has already been taken down.

"We take reports of hate crimes extremely seriously so if any residents find any kind of anti-Semitic signs they should immediately report them to the police on 101.”

A Shomrim study last year recorded 32 anti-Semitic incidents during a month-long study among Orthodox Jews living in the Stamford Hill area.

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