Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Anti-Semitic Rat Graffiti Returns to DC Streets for Third Time in One Week

Street art became anti-Semitic graffiti in Washington, D.C. for the third time in one week after vandals wrote “Jew” on images of rats meant to evoke the Chinese Zodiac.

On Monday morning, Twitter user Michael Villafranca noticed that a graffiti of a Chinese Zodiac rat with the word “Jew” on it had reappeared on the streets of DC after being cleaned up twice last week.

Passerby first noticed the graffiti at the intersection at 7th and H Streets in the heart of D.C.’s Chinatown on Aug. 3, said Eli Schechner, a Princeton University junior who is doing an internship at a foreign policy think tank and first noticed the graffiti. In May, the city decorated the crosswalks there in honor of the neighborhood’s character and history, and included the signs of the Chinese Zodiac, including horses, snakes, bulls — and rats.

Schechner noticed mentions of the graffiti on Twitter that day, and then saw it himself the next day — after the city had tried to remove it, and someone had redone it.

“It was a little early in the morning to be seeing signs of anti-Semitism,” Schechner said.

Schechner hopes it stays gone, but also admits this anti-Semitic graffiti was a strong example of the genre.

“It’s a clever way to get anti-Semitism out there rather than just writing a swastika on a building,” he said. “I’m glad they’re embracing nuance.”

Contact Helen Chernikoff at [email protected] or on Twitter @thesimplechild


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.