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Illinois cemetery headstones defaced with swastikas and antisemitic statements

Headstones at a Waukegan, Illinois cemetery were spray-painted with swastikas and anti-Semitic jargon, including support for Kanye West’s statements against the Jewish community.

The vandalism was discovered on Monday morning at the AM Echod Cemetery on Grand Avenue in Waukegan, a suburb just north of Chicago, Fox station WFLD reported.

Police said 16 tombstones were spray-painted with red swastikas and 23 other headstones were defaced.

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One vandal wrote, “Kanye was rite,” on a tombstone, referencing remarks made by the rapper Kanye West.

In October, West, who also goes by Ye, was locked out of his Twitter account for saying he was going “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up, I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” Ye, also known as Kanye West, tweeted on Oct. 8. “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

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Ye was also kicked off Instagram for language that appeared to be anti-Semitic.

“The desecration of graves is as low as it gets, and by the way, it’s also as cowardly as it gets,” David Goldenberg, regional director of ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Midwest told WFLD.

The Jewish cemetery, though small, is over 100 years old.

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Goldenberg said anti-Semitic incidents have increased by more than 400 percent in the last five years.

“Let’s be clear, they should illicit a visceral reaction. It is hateful, anti-Semitic and they’re dangerous because they can cause these types of real-life acts,” he said. “In this particular case, it was vandalism, the next one could be assault. People could get hurt.”

Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor issued a statement condemning the vandalism, saying she was “deeply disturbed and angered by the hateful imagery found spray-painted on headstones.”

“Hate does not have a home in Waukegan,” she said. “I hope our officers promptly locate the perpetrators of this despicable act and hold them accountable, and I offer my full support to those directly impacted by this vandalism.”

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker tweeted on Monday that he stood with Taylor in condemning the act, offering the state’s full support in pursuit of justice.

Also turning to Twitter was Congressman Brad Schneider of the 10th district of Illinois.

“I am shocked and appalled by the defacement of the Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan,” he tweeted. “This act of hate is despicable. I join with other leaders and organizations such as Mayor Ann Taylor and the ADL in condemning this attack. Hate has no home here.”

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