IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Headstones vandalized with swastikas at Illinois Jewish cemetery

Police found 16 headstones with “large red spray-painted swastikas” at Congregation Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan.
Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan, Ill.
Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan, Ill.Google Maps

More than a dozen headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Illinois were vandalized with swastikas Monday, police said.

Police found 16 large headstones with “large red spray-painted swastikas” at Congregation Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan, about 45 miles north of Chicago, Waukegan Police Chief Keith Zupec said in a statement.

Police also found 23 more headstones "that had been defaced with non-specific red spray-painted graffiti," Zupec said.

Video obtained by WFLD-TV of Chicago shows that at least one of the headstones was also defaced with what appears to read "Kanye was rite," referring to recent antisemitic comments by the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.

Brad Goodman, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, said that WFLD's report appears accurate but that officials “can’t confirm verbatim what was written, as the writing is difficult to read.”

Officials with the congregation could not immediately be reached for comment.

Similar antisemitic messages referring to Ye's comments have also appeared over a Los Angeles freeway and at the Georgia-Florida football game last month.

Antisemitic incidents have been on the rise across the country.

Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor condemned the vandalism in a statement, saying she was "deeply disturbed and angered by the hateful imagery."

"Hate does not have a home in Waukegan; when such incidents occur, our marginalized neighbors are victimized, and our entire community suffers," Taylor 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.”

Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat who represents the city in Congress, tweeted that he was "shocked and appalled."

"Hate has no home here," he wrote.

"Antisemitism must neither be normalized nor accepted," he continued in another tweet.

The police Criminal Investigation Division is investigating, police said.