A sign appeared in Stamford Hill, north London, on Tuesday, it seemed to be a warning; “beware of Jews”.
The sign appears to show the silhouette of an orthodox Jewish man wearing a traditional Fedora hat, the sign was found 200 yards from a synagogue. It was reported by a member of Shomrim NE London, which is a local Jewish neighbourhood group.
Unfortunately, the people of Stamford Hill are used to instances of anti-Semitic hate crime, but most of the time it is verbal abuse and occasionally even assault. A lot of the time it will be more of a person-to-person kind of thing, or graffiti, which is more unprofessional.
Diane Abbott – the area’s MP and shadow home secretary – said the sign was “disgusting” and “unacceptable”.
Despite what you might think, and what I originally thought, it turns out that it was a road sign that was part of an art project.
Franck Allais, the artist from Paris and who has lived in London for the past 16 years, has placed 27 signs around London. They feature silhouetted figures including shoppers and animals. He has since said that he “completely regretted” any offence caused.
“I take pictures around me of people crossing the road,” he said.
Mr Allais said he believed red warning triangles did not have a “bad” meaning, but rather advised motorists to “take care” of the item depicted.
Stamford Hill is home to Europe’s largest community of around 30,000 Haredi Jews and there roughly around 50 synagogues in the area.
A survey last year by Shomrim recorded 32 anti-Semitic incidents in a month in the area. Among the victims were an eight-year-old boy who was beaten up on his way home and a woman confronted by a man giving a Nazi salute.
This is the perfect example that I would use to show that we should not turn on this man, we should not berate him for what we would assume is ignorance. This is the prime time to educate, to teach this man why it is unacceptable and why we view it as wrong. If we just lambast anyone that is unknowingly anti-Semitic then we aren’t teaching everyone else how to avoid this from happening again.