GENOA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WCMH) — Antisemitic graffiti was drawn across a pillar on a pavilion at Hilmar Park on Thursday in Genoa Township. By early afternoon on the spring-like February day, the graffiti had been wiped clean.
“Maybe it’s from a place of ignorance. Maybe they don’t know what a swastika is and understand the hateful language,” said Joel Marcovitch, a local leader in the Jewish community. “Hate has no place here. Antisemitism has no place here in Columbus.”
Jessica Bullock, who is Jewish, saw the words and symbols written on the pillar.
“I was shocked, I was angry, I was disturbed. I’m totally disgusted about it,” she said. “It’s not easy to be in a world of any kind of minority. It’s just not. People just don’t seem to accept there could be something different.”
Drawn in marker on the white pillar, the graffiti included a swastika and pro-Nazi phrases. It left Bullock distraught, and wishing that people would be more welcoming toward others from different races, heritages, and faiths.
“Understand you’re missing out on a lot of good information and a lot of good people out there,” Bullock said.
She questioned how the non-Jewish community sees incidents like these.
“It makes me mad. It makes me scared. And I also think, what does somebody think who isn’t in the Jewish faith. What are they thinking now? Does it get them mad or scared? It is probably just another news story to them, but for me, it’s deeper than that,” she said.
Marcovitch said he would say he is shocked, but he’s not. “Antisemitism is on the rise here. We’re seeing this a lot in different areas and forms,” he said.
It is not the first time the Westerville community has seen hate in graffiti, he said.
“We’ve seen a few instances from the Westerville community. It’s not a population of huge Jewish significance, but it is there,” he explained.
It comes amid a wave of antisemitic rhetoric nationwide, including from high-profile Americans like Kanye West and NBA star Kyrie Irving.
“Whether it’s this, whether it’s Kanye West, whoever is spouting antisemitism, we need our allies and partners to speak as loud as they can,” Marcovitch said.