The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating a graffiti attack on the memorial to the former commander of the so-called Jewish Legion as a hate crime.
“Scum Nazis” was scrawled across the memorial to Lt Col John Henry Patterson DSO who commanded the so-called Jewish Legion during the First World War, which was the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia. Whilst his men fought with distinction, Lt Col Patterson, who was not Jewish, had to defend them from the antisemitism of his superiors, peers and subordinates, even threatening to resign his commission on multiple occasions in protest at the treatment of his soldiers. Lt Col Patterson sacrificed any hope of a successful military career in order to stand by his Jewish soldiers and ensure that they were treated fairly.
In accordance with his dying wish, Lt Col Patterson was reburied in Israel in 2014 in order to be close to the soldiers who fell under his command.
The memorial had only recently been restored following an attempt to set it alight.
The incident has been condemned by politicians from the Democratic Unionist Party as well as clergymen. Inspector Murphy from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement: “The incident is being treated as a hate crime. Police would like to hear from anyone with information, or anyone who was in the area and noticed anything or anyone suspicious. Please call 101 quoting reference 299 17/03/17 or call Crimestoppers and speak with them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
This cowardly attack on a memorial to one of Northern Ireland’s heroes must be punished with the full force of the law.
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