Someone painted two swastikas on the door of a Jewish temple in Morgan Hill, and police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime, according to authorities.
The graffiti at Congregation Emeth, on the 17800 block of Monterey Road, was reported to the Morgan Hill Police Department at about 5pm on Jan. 16, authorities say.
“Unknown suspect(s) painted what appeared to be two swastikas on a basement door,” MHPD Sgt. Bill Norman said.
Police have not identified or arrested a suspect.
The swastika is an ancient symbol that in modern times is used as a symbol of hate and anti-Semitism, according to the Anti Defamation League.
“Since 1945, the swastika has served as the most significant and notorious of hate symbols, anti-Semitism and white supremacy for most of the world outside of Asia,” according to an explainer on the ADL website.
“Its display is prohibited in Germany and some other countries, leading some right-wing extremists to devise variants or alternatives to the swastika that would evoke a similar effect,” the website goes on to state. “In the United States, the swastika is overwhelmingly viewed as a hate symbol.”
The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
In 2019, the FBI says it received 7,314 reports for hate crimes nationwide. That number has increased steadily each year since about 2013, when 5,479 hate crimes were reported to federal authorities.
Anyone with information about the vandalism reported at Congregation Emeth can call Morgan Hill police at 408.779.2101.