Portland, OR – Vandals spray-painted a swastika on the sign outside a Northeast Portland deli, the most recent vandalism targeting the Jewish-owned business.
Justin King, the founder and owner of Ben & Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli, told KOIN 6 News they found the swastika Saturday morning on the sign at their Northeast Alberta store. The hate symbol was spray-painted above pictures of King’s grandparents.
“It’s a little bit more than a corporate logo,” King said.
A few months ago, King said, employees at their Northeast Sandy store received a threatening phone call. “That was specifically anti-Semitic,” he told KOIN 6 News.
That same store had its front door windows smashed a few weeks ago, he said. In that same time frame, the door locks at their Alberta Street store were superglued 2 days in a row, he said.
King filed a police report for everything except the threatening phone call. He said the police have not contacted him about any of the reports yet.
This swastika vandalism “coincides with the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. To come right after Yom Kippur I think is significant and potentially was arranged like that,” he said.
Stephen Paolini, the associate regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said it’s likely no accident this latest vandalism happened after Yom Kippur.
“Here at ADL we see significantly higher rates of antisemitism incidents of all kinds (but especially vandalism) around the holiday time,” Paolini told KOIN 6 News.
“Certainly someone who would do a cowardly act like this isn’t going to come forward and say, ‘It’s me. I don’t like Jews.’ I wish they would. I’d like someone to come forward so we could have a face-to-face conversation. Unfortunately I think people that act in hate tend to hide in the shadows and perform cowardly acts like this.”
However, he said, the support of other members in the community has been gratifying.
“Seeing everyone’s reaction, it reaffirms our faith in our community. We’re happy to be part of this community,” King said. “It’s nice to have the reinforcement that the larger community is affected by it.”