Police seek man who left swastika flag at N.C. synagogue

Image of a man in North Carolina wanted for waving a flag with a swastika on it outside of the Temple of the High Country. Credit: Town of Boone Police Department.

(JNS) — Police in Boone, N.C., have released images of a man they allege waved a flag with a swastika on it outside of the Temple of the High Country on Feb. 15.

According to a statement on the synagogue’s home page, several people reported the incident and the man to authorities. A short time later, two members of Appalachian State University’s AEPi chapter saw the hateful flag draped over the synagogue’s sign and removed it.

Boone police said they were “disheartened” by the incident.

“It is important however to note the distinction between a hateful act and a hate crime,” it added. “At this time, there is an active investigation to learn more about the person(s) who left the antisemitic flag on the property of the Temple of the High Country and their motives.”

North Carolina Hillel Link at Appalachian State responded to the incident on social media, writing that the synagogue is a “home for Jewish students” at the school and that students were going to walk together from the campus to the synagogue on Friday night for Shabbat services and dinner. “NC Hillel is here for students to be heard and supported [as] they process these incidents, and we work to create a safe and secure community for all students.”

Among those calling for solidarity with the Jewish community of Boone is the Council of American-Islamic Relations. “It is clear that antisemites, racists and white supremacists are stepping up their efforts to recruit others to their hate-filled cause,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Americans who value justice, diversity and respect for others must take a stand against this rising tide of hate.”

U.S. House Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), whose district includes Boone, tweeted: “Antisemitism has no place in our society.”