The London sign reported to police as a hate crime was not meant to be an anti-Semitic statement, as per artist Franck Allais
A red-triangle warning sign depicting the silhouette of an Orthodox Jewish man was reported as a hate crime by a Jewish neighborhood watch. The photographer and artist behind it apologized for causing offence.
An art project:
Freelance photographer Franck Allais, said that the sign in question was part of an artistic project. The project included other signs depicting a woman pulling a shopping trolley, a man pushing his wheelchair and a cat.
The project is intended as a comment on identity, according to Allais. He added that the sign in Stamford Hill, which is one of the largest Hasidic communities in Europe, was not an anti-Semitic statement, and that he was left shaken by the offence he had caused.
“It was a project about crossing the road … how everyone is different, everyone has an identity. There is not only one sign in the street. I put more signs up in the street, but only this one got noticed. I am sorry for any offence caused,” he said:
The Jewish neighborhood watch group, Shomrim that reported the sign to the Metropolitan police and Hackney council stated that the sign has caused “alarm and distress to local people”. Stamford Hill is located in the middle of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish and mainly Hasidic community containing an estimate of 30,000 people.
“The people of Stamford Hill are very sadly used to instances of anti-Semitic hate crime, but most of those times it will be verbal abuse or even assault. A lot of the time it will be more of a person-to-person kind of thing, or graffiti, which is more unprofessional,” Shomrim’s operational supervisor in the area, Barry Bard said.
The signs Allais created were based on real people he saw crossing the road in the areas where the signs were later hung and photographed. People have spotted some of the other signs
On Wednesday, the Stamford Hill sign was due to be removed by Hackney council
Rise of Anti-Semitism:
According to data released by the Community Security Trust, in the UK, the number of anti-Semitic incidents rose by more than a third to record levels in 2016.
Last year, 1,309 incidents of anti-Jewish hate were recorded by the CST, which monitors anti-Semitism and provides security to Jewish communities, compared to 960 in 2015, which is a rise of 36%. In 2014, 1,182 incidents were recorded.