21:16 GMT24 November 2020
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    Brothers at a Jewish fraternity at the University of California at Davis awoke Saturday to find red swastikas spray-painted on their off-campus house.

    WASHINGTON, February 2nd (Sputnik) — The police believe the two swastikas, one on an exterior wall and another on the ground in front of an entrance to the house, were painted sometime between 3 AM and 9 AM Saturday morning.

    “It shook me up this morning, definitely made me feel marginalized on campus,” said Alpha Epsilon Pi vice president Nathaniel Bernhard.

    “Nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi in a written statement. She added that the graffiti was “repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear.”

    The timing of the attack wasn’t entirely surprising to some members of the fraternity, who noted a tense atmosphere surrounding the January 29 student vote to urge the UC system to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories.”

    “This whole week has kind of been not a great week to be a Jewish student on campus,” said Bernhard.

    Katehi responded to the vote with a statement stressing that such resolutions do not reflect the administration’s position, “The investment policy for the University of California system, including UC Davis, is set by the UC Board of Regents.”

    A coalition of student groups posted a statement on the Twitter account of Students for Justice in Palestine in response to the vandalism:

    “Just as we condemn the hanging of a noose, the defamation of the Palestinian dove, or calling students ‘terrorists’ based on their physical appearance or beliefs, we equally condemn the display of the swastika,” said the SJP of UC Davis, adding that, “We reject any attempt to blame this on any single student community, including the UC Davis Divestment movement."

    “This is especially heinous behavior given that this past week, the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,” Barry Broad, president of the Board of The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the lessons that history has taught us about the culture of hate have not been heeded by everyone.”

    Police say they have no evidence that the graffiti is related to campus activist groups and that they will be monitoring social media for anyone bragging about the vandalism or other comments that might lead them to a perpetrator. 

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