Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cleveland Unites over Anti-Semitic murals

The Cleveland community is mobilizing over vile anti-Semitic murals that have appeared on the walls of Biggie's FoodMart and gas station at East 55th Street and Cedar Avenue. Lead by the Anti-Defamation League , a broad inter-faith coalition has formed in opposition to the murals, including Rabbi Stephen Weiss, senior rabbi of B'nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike.,  Rev. Kenneth Chalker, senior pastor of University Circle United Methodist Church in Cleveland, Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland,  Rev. Joseph Hilinski, director of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland's Interfaith Commission and pastor of St. Barbara Catholic Church in Cleveland, Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Bishop Tony Minor, senior pastor of Community of Faith Assembly in Cleveland,  the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and Rabbi Richard Block, senior rabbi of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood and Cleveland.

Anita Gray, regional director of the ADL has  described the paintings as "highly offensive and anti-Semitic." adding "We are appalled by the intolerance and bigotry these signs convey...The owner of this establishment has the right to have it decorated as he chooses, but we urge fellow members of the community to join us in saying, loudly and clearly, that such hate is not welcome here, and we categorically reject it."

The owner of the gas station/grocery store Brahim "Abe" Ayad was born in the United States but is of Palestinian descent. Expect JVP to express its outrage at the Zionist lobby attempting to stiffle Palestinian activism in 3, 2, 1..... 

Offensive Mural in Cleveland at Biggie's Food Mart and gas station
From the Cleveland Jewish news
In one image, the words "Talmudic Priests in Church" and "$ex with Minors Permitted" appear above a drawing of what Gray described as "a stereotypical Orthodox Jew" with his lips apparently on the private parts of a naked baby. The other mural, labeled "The Faces of Jesus," includes the statement, "To Jews he's a bastard who's in hell."

 Gray said her office in Cleveland received a call May 28 from a neighborhood resident who was "mortified" by the images. The following morning, Gray notified Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's office and Blaine Griffin, executive director of the city's Community Relations Board, about them.

 "We immediately started putting together a coalition of people and organizations who were outraged about the virulent, hateful displays on this gas station," Gray said.

 Cheryl Davis, chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Community Relations Committee, released this statement on behalf of the Federation May 30:

  "We, as a community, need to stand firm against this kind of hatred. This outrageous and deeply offensive anti-Semitic mural has no place in our city, (which) embraces ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. We implore all members of the Cleveland community to stand against hatred and intolerance."

 Also on May 30, Jackson issued a statement in which he said "the graphic painting" is "totally unacceptable and is offensive to the city of Cleveland and its residents."

Referring in particular to the mural with the heading, "Talmudic Priests in Church," Jackson said many residents, commuters and visitors have expressed outrage over the image and that the city shares in that outrage.

"There is no place in Cleveland for this inappropriate image, and I am urging the owners of this establishment to remove it immediately," he said, adding the city will "explore all legal avenues" to have it removed .

Offensive Mural in Cleveland at Biggie's Food Mart and Gas Station
Apparently, Brahim “Abe” Ayad  has been using his gas station to spread his special brand of hate for years, with complete impunity

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