An anti-Semitic message was left last week at a residential intersection in Mt. Lebanon.
“Kill the Jews!” was found spelled out in pine cones with a swastika on Tuesday morning, May 30, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The woman who found the threat at the corner of Overlook Drive and Arden Road rearranged the cones to read “Love,” but not before taking a photograph of the hate message and calling the police, Mt. Lebanon Police Lt. Duane Fisher told the Post-Gazette.
The intersection is one which is crossed daily by children on their way to and from school in this walking community. A school crossing guard frequently uses the pine cones at that corner to leave messages for children such as “Have a nice day,” Fisher said.
The police do not believe this incident constitutes a hate crime, but is rather the work of juveniles who may not fully understand the effect of their actions, Fisher said.
The Mt. Lebanon police have not been able to discern who is responsible for the incident.
“We have had no developments,” Fisher said. “There has been no surveillance footage uncovered, and no one has made claims to have done it. There is no other information coming forward.”
Fisher suspects the perpetrator or perpetrators to be “older elementary school or middle school children,” who spelled out the offensive words on a dare.
Most of the neighbors, Fisher said, have “embraced the theory that this is juvenile in nature and not a hate crime. It’s upsetting, but not a true indication of hate or problems in this community. It’s probably juveniles doing stupid things while they’re in transition.”
“It’s a shame this happened, whether it turns out to be a student who doesn’t fully understand the consequences of his or her actions, or a member of the community with more nefarious intentions,” said Josh Sayles, director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “The bottom line is the Jewish community in Mt. Lebanon was marginalized by this incident.”
The incident, however, appears to be “isolated,” according to Sayles.
“No one’s health or safety was put at risk, and while we hope the perpetrator is caught, we don’t believe there’s a larger issue the Jewish community needs to be concerned about.” PJC
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.