Local leaders are condemning antisemitic messages that were spray-painted on property in the city of Brookhaven earlier this week.

Sometime around Nov. 1, someone spray-painted antisemitic slurs and messaging on a townhome, a stop sign, and a church sign around the Brookhaven MARTA station, specifically at the corner of Apple Valley Road and Dresden Drive. 

According to Dov Wilker, regional director of the American Jewish Committee Atlanta, one of the messages, which was spray painted on a townhome, said “Jews Kill Blacks.” 

“This type of graffiti – any type of antisemitic attacks – is an affront to the values of democracy,” Wilker said. “We work so hard as a society to bring people together, and this type of hateful rhetoric is used to dehumanize and to create barriers in our society.”

This is the second reported incident of this type in the southeastern United States within the week. At a football game between the University of Georgia and University of Florida on Oct. 29, the phrase “Kanye was right” was projected onto the outside of one of the end zones at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. 

The phrase refers to recent antisemitic comments and behavior from the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving also recently boosted an antisemitic film on his Twitter account. Both Irving and the Nets later announced they would each donate $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League. The Nets later suspended Irving for five games. 

Wilker said the vandalism in Brookhaven is part of a larger trend. 

“Over the last five years as we’ve seen a steady increase of antisemitism, the Jewish community has been on edge,” Wilker said. “Living around the corner from where this most recent graffiti took place, it really hit home in a way that other antisemitic experiences have not.” 

According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the U.S. in 2021, with a total of 2,717 incidents of reported assault, harassment, and vandalism. The southeast region – Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee – saw a 74% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2021. Georgia specifically saw an increase of 133%, moving from 21 incidents in 2020 to 49 incidents in 2021.

In August this year, a man was accused of spray-painting swastikas on Midtown Atlanta’s rainbow crosswalks at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue. There have also been some reports of antisemitism in schools, including reports of students drawing swastikas on the walls at Pope High School last year.

“It should be surprising to no one that when celebrities spout antisemitic vitriol and fail to accept responsibility, it has consequences,” said ADL Southeast Regional Director Eytan Davidson in a statement. “We join with our coalition partners, especially the Georgia NAACP, in condemning these acts of antisemitism and thank the City of Brookhaven and local law enforcement for investigating the incidents and removing the graffiti.”

Gerald Griggs, President of the Georgia NAACP, issued a statement condemning antisemitism and other forms of hate. 

“The Georgia NAACP joins the ADL in condemning all forms of hate and divisive language targeted at any minority group,” Griggs said. “Georgia should be a State that does not tolerate any forms of bigotry or hate.”

The city of Brookhaven did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication, and a spokesperson for the Brookhaven Police Department did not respond to questions about leads.

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.