On Monday, one day before Election Day and hours before President Donald Trump visited the city, headstones at Ahavas Israel Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids were found vandalized with red spray-painted letters spelling out “TRUMP” and his slogan of “MAGA” (Make America Great Again).
The Anti-Defamation League of Michigan tweeted their statement shortly after the vandalism was found announcing they were in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism.
We are appalled by the reported desecration of gravestones at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI. We are in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism. pic.twitter.com/mVeGrlsWxE
— ADL Michigan (@ADLMichigan) November 2, 2020
Grand Rapids Police Department spokesperson Sgt. John Wittkowski stated there was no new information following the discovery of the damage.
“Since the initial incident, no arrests have been made and we have no real leads,” Wittkowski said. “There is no indication of any additional threats and we believe this to be an isolated occurrence.”
Going into Election Day, Wittkowski said the GRPD was well prepared for any issues of civil unrest that may occur today.
On Monday evening, the Michigan Jewish Democrats issued a statement responding to the perceived attempt to intimidate Jewish voters.
“We are appalled and outraged by the desecration of Ahavas Israel cemetery in Grand Rapids on the day Donald Trump is slated to close his campaign with a rally in Grand Rapids,” Chair Noah Arbit said. “Make no mistake, this heinous act was committed on the eve of the 2020 election to send an intimidating message to the president’s opponents, and particularly, Jewish voters. But it has failed.”
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Twp.) also spoke out against anti-Semitism, stating it “has no home in our community.”
We stand united with our Jewish friends and neighbors against this disgusting act of vandalism, desecration, and hate toward our fellow human beings. Anti-Semitism must find no home in our community. https://t.co/yuf2oHTQco
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) November 2, 2020
In October 2019, the Advance first reported that Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids was hit with anti-Semitic graffiti consisting of two anti-Semitic posters, one of which included the image of Adolf Hitler saying, “Did you forget about me?”