Swastikas spray-painted outside Quaker cemetery in Haddonfield
“Even though we are Quakers, there are times when we cannot and should not be silent,” said Dave Austin, clerk for the Haddonfield Friends Meeting.
Police are investigating two swastikas found spray-painted Friday outside a Quaker cemetery in Haddonfield.
Members of the Haddonfield Friends Meeting discovered the antisemitic graffiti Friday on two trees on either side of the entrance to the graveyard, which faces the religious organization’s meetinghouse near North Haddon Avenue and Lake Street, a spokesperson for the group said.
Quakerism is a Christian religious denomination.
“Even though we are Quakers, there are times when we cannot and should not be silent,” Dave Austin, clerk for the Haddonfield Friends Meeting, said in a statement posted on its website. “It is a sad fact that hate crimes of all kinds, especially incidents involving antisemitic hate, have been on the rise in recent years across our state and our country, including locally.”
The discovery came the same day that acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin reported a record number of hate crimes and related incidents in the state last year.
In a report issued Friday, Platkin said preliminary data showed nearly 1,900 bias incidents were recorded in the state in 2021 — the highest number since New Jersey began separately tracking hate crimes in 1994. The figure represented a 29% increase from the 1,447 bias incidents reported in 2020.
Anti-Jewish bias was cited as a motivation for 347 of the incidents reported in 2021.
“Our commitment to protecting New Jersey residents from acts of hate and bias remains unshakable,” Platkin said in a statement.
Haddonfield Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich thanked police and city workers for painting over the symbols so students and staff at the nearby Haddonfield Friends School would not see them.
“Hate and bigotry have no home in Haddonfield, whether anti-Semitism or any other type,” she wrote. “As Passover is only two weeks away, it’s important to stand in solidarity with our Jewish community members and denounce these symbols.”