PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Disturbing images of vandalism and anti-Semitism are circulating on social media, and Philadelphia police have released surveillance video of one scene. Police are looking for two suspects who vandalized Holocaust Memorial Plaza on the 1600 block of Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City.
Authorities say a man and a woman were seen on camera walking by the plaza on May 16 around 10:15 p.m. The bearded man is seen wearing a blue shirt, gray pants, and black sneakers. The woman was wearing a multicolored scarf and pants and a red shirt.READ MORE: Methacton Lacrosse Coach Garth Little Facing Charges After Video Captures Him Shoving Student-Athlete
Both appear to be using yellow paint to mark a section of the memorial with letters, although it’s unclear what the graffiti means.
“It’s not a shock that there would be vandalism in our own city,” Steven Rosenberg with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia said.
Rosenberg spoke candidly about what he says is a wave of violence against Jewish people happening around the country.READ MORE: Homeowner's Body Found Following Explosions, Massive Fire In Lower Providence Township Townhouses
“There is a rise in anti-Semitism everywhere, as you know,” he said. “It comes out in a variety of ways. You have Jewish people being beaten up in the streets in L.A. and D.C.”
Video posted on social media is also sparking alarm for Philadelphia police. It shows a group of males attempting to burn the flag of Israel along the parkway in Center City on May 15.
Officials with the Jewish Federation believe the Israel-Palestine conflict may be fueling the uptick in recent vandalism and violence, despite the agreed-upon ceasefire in the Middle East.
“I would think that the conflict and combined with social media has been a massive driver of a wedge through all of us,” Rosenberg said. “Anti-Semitism used to lurk in the shadows. Now it’s sort of worn as a badge of honor and as a medal and people are not embarrassed at all to do things in the light of day.”
Police are hoping the public can identify those involved in the vandalism in Philadelphia, relying heavily on surveillance video to help nab the suspects.MORE NEWS: 'Sad Day In The Rescue World': Animal Advocates Fear Proposed Legislation Would Force Dog Owners To Give Up Pets
“We’ve gotten some information,” Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish said. “I believe that we’re going to be, hopefully, be making an arrest in the near future.”