Hateful, anti-Semitic graffiti on Vancouver Seawall targets Henry, Horgan

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Disturbing graffiti has been photographed on the Vancouver Seawall comparing B.C.’s top doctor to the Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele. Graffiti has also been spotted singling out B.C.’s premier with a comparison to the Nazis.

Vancouver City Councillor Pete Fry says the graffiti that reads, “Dr. Bonny Henry Mengele,” has left him with a “very palpable sense of anger.”

“It really is an appalling lack of respect for the Jewish people. And for just victims of persecution and genocide,” he says. “I can’t imagine how anybody can possibly think this was appropriate, to compare what we’re dealing with in this global pandemic to the deliberate murder of people based on their ethnicity.”

Nico Slobinsky, with The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, took to Twitter Sunday to express his outrage, noting Joseph Mengele, also known as the ‘Angel of Death,’ was a German doctor who served as chief physician at the extermination camp of Auschwitz.

“The role of a Public Health Officer is the exact opposite of the role Mengele played. One is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the population, the other tried to destroy humanity,” his tweet reads.

Slobinsky calls the graffiti “disturbing” and “disgusting.”

Over the pandemic, anti-Semitic incidents have risen across the country as some Canadians compare the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions to the Holocaust.

Related Article: #ItStartedWithWords: Holocaust survivors use social media to fight anti-Semitism

“Sadly this is indicative of the kind of just vile rhetoric that we’re hearing from a cohort of this anti-mask conspiracy theory crowd that is out there spreading really disgusting sentiments of foolishness,” Fry says.

“Unfortunately, it’s easy to dismiss this as just stupid. At a time when we’re seeing an incredible rise in xenophobia and racism, when we see a lot of anti-Asian racism, we’re seeing a lot of anti-Black racism. And we’re seeing a lot of anti-Jewish racism. I think we need to nip that kind of sentiment in the bud. And we need to stand together and recognize that our frontline workers are working as hard as they can, as fast as they can. Our health authorities are working as diligently as they can. We need to come together. We can’t be fostering this hateful, racist, insensitive rhetoric. It’s not helpful, in fact, it’s super counterproductive.”

Fry adds while restrictions, health orders, and living through the pandemic is difficult on everyone, people should not trivialize the suffering of a community.

“Staying the course is getting our results, and we need to sort of stay on top of that. I think a lot of British Columbians and Vancouverites recognize that this kind of sentiment is abhorrent,” he says.

“I think that that really highlights who’s driving this kind of narrative, this anti-mask kind of conspiracy narrative that we see.”

Fry says he will be reaching out the Vancouver Park Board to ensure the graffiti is being covered as soon as possible.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is also condemning the graffiti, and assuring residents it is being removed.

“I saw this disturbing vandalism first hand this morning and immediately alerted city crews who’ve prioritized its removal. Dr. Bonnie Henry is a tremendous leader and I stand with her 100%. Comparing her to nazism is so far over the line it’s beyond disgusting,” he tweeted.

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