Anti-Semitic signs found posted in St. Albans

Published: Dec. 24, 2019 at 4:42 PM EST
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Hate around the holidays? Anti-Semitic signs were discovered stapled to telephone poles on Tuesday morning in St. Albans. And our Ike Bendavid learned it's the second time it's happened this month.

Several signs targeting Jewish people could be seen from the road near downtown St. Albans on Tuesday. WCAX News was sent photos of the signs in different locations.

City employees quickly responded, removing the signs before noon.

We showed people a photo of one sign; they were shocked.

"It's just disappointing," said Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland of St. Albans.

"OH! Oh my god," said Julia Deziel of Georgia.

"That is really unfortunate," said Jan Johnson of Highgate.

Police say this is not the first time anti-Jewish posters were discovered around the city this month. They are investigating.

"There was some signs, leaflets that were left on utility poles in the city today. We had some in the past. It had some anti-Semitic undertones to them," St. Albans Police Sgt. Joseph Thomas said.

Right now, police say the newly discovered signs don't appear to violate the law but there's a fine line between free speech and a crime.

"If in conjunction with any other act could be considered a criminal act," Thomas said. "Although not directly racist or anti-Semitic, it could definitely cause some upheaval in the community."

Reporter Ike Bendavid: For the people or person that did this what do you have to say to them?

Rabbi Eliyahu Junik/Chabad of Burlington: It's a little bit hard to answer that question because I don't know who that person is and their history. I guess everyone needs a different answer. But I would say get help, go meet Jewish people, go speak to them.

We also showed the rabbi a photo of one poster.

"It's worrisome that these things are still being spread," he said.

But Junik says the community should seize this moment to spread something else.

"The lights really resemble our resilience and endurance that we have survived these attacks and all the other attacks," he said.

Wednesday, the Chabad of Vermont will light the menorah in Taylor Park in St. Albans at 5 p.m. It was planned months before the posters were found. Junik says all of the community is invited.

"If everyone shows up and we make a much bigger menorah lighting and a more festive experience for everyone, that would really-- says a little candle of light spells lots of darkness and that's our response," the rabbi said.

As police continue their investigation they say they want to talk to the person or people responsible to discuss why they are doing this.