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Jewish Centre in Slovenia Defaced with Anti-semitic Graffiti

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Unknown persons vandalized the door of the Jewish Cultural Centre in Ljubljana on Thursday in the first known incident of ant-Semitism in Slovenia since the latest Israel-Hamas fighting started –drawing the Star of David and the Nazi swastika with an equal sign between them.

The incident occurred at around 5 am on Thursday. Robert Baruh Waltl, president of the Liberal Jewish Community of Slovenia and director of the Jewish Cultural Centre, identified it as the first anti-Semitic incident in the country since the latest conflict in Israel-Palestine started.

“Police are reviewing the surveillance camera footage,” he told the daily Delo. “You know what’s behind that door? The Museum of the Holocaust in Slovenia, the Jewish Museum, the synagogue, and an exhibition about Anne Frank’s family,” he added.

“Never in our wildest nightmares did we imagine that we would ever see a freshly painted swastika in one of the most peaceful European cities, especially in such a context,” Baruh Waltl added.

The government condemned the incident. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Slovenian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association said they “strongly condemn the hate message that appeared this morning on the doors of the Centre for Jewish Culture and the Synagogue in Ljubljana on Križevniška Street. It is unacceptable that individuals try to desecrate the dignity of Jews or any other minority group. In Slovenia, we must actively strive for a society without hateful speech and actions.”

“Hateful symbols are not a free expression of opinions and do not strengthen democracy; in fact, hateful speech is extremely damaging to human dignity. It is our obligation always to resolutely condemn hate speech and constantly fight against it,” said Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon.

On social networks, many also condemned Thursday night’s event. The March 8 Institute wrote Facebook that “equating of religious communities with the rule of a criminal regime is inadmissible and questionable”.

In the Slovenian public there is a certain amount of solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, and some non-government organisations call for Slovenia to recognise Palestine, but so far there have been no anti-Semitic incidents.

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