New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. Credit: State Department.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. Credit: State Department.

( Campaign posters for New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, who has Jewish roots, were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti in an incident that has startled the country’s small Jewish community.

One of the defaced campaign posters featured a picture of John Key was that spray painted to resemble an observant Jew with a black hat and peyot. Spray painted next to the picture was the words “Lying Jew ****sucker.”

Key, who was born to an Austrian Jewish mother and has family members who died in the Holocaust, has served as New Zealand’s prime minister from the center-right National Party since 2008.

“The Jewish community in New Zealand, they are hard-working, decent people and they don’t deserve to be brought into some sort of personal campaign that’s directed at me,” Key said in statement.

Stephen Goodman, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, told the Australia and New Zealand Jewish news website J-Wire that New Zealand’s 7,500-person Jewish community “is concerned about the rise in anti-Semitic acts and statements being made at present.”

“[Anti-Semitism] must be dealt with swiftly; it has no place in our culture,” Goodman said.

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