New York, NY – Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer today stood with community leaders to decry the wave of recentanti-Semitic vandalism and assaults that have New Yorkers on alert. The discovery this week of multiple swastikas allegedly scrawled on Midtown storefronts are the latest in a wave of hate crimes that includes anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism, defacement of property, assault and hateful messages sent to a Jewish seminary.
The Borough President was joined by Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the NY Board of Rabbis, Ron Meier of the Anti-Defamation League, Michael Landau, the Chairman of the West Side Council of Jewish Organizations, Shira Loewenberg of AJC New York, and Rabbi Abe Friedman, a Law Enforcement Chaplain.
“This appalling incident is not isolated,” said Stringer. “Anti-Semitic hate crimes have been spreading like cancer throughout the five boroughs. According to news reports, the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is actively investigating this incident and we are grateful for their efforts. But New York City must send a clear message to perpetrators – hate crimes have no place in our boroughs.”
“When this kind of outrageous attack takes place, it doesn’t just harm the Jewish community – it is an attack on all of us,” Borough President Stringer continued. “New York is a city that prides itself on tolerance, acceptance and diversity, and that’s why we must all speak up and condemn these vulgar crimes wherever and whenever they take place. I urge anyone who has knowledge of this most recent incident to contact the New York Police Department immediately.”
Multiple incidents of anti-Semitic attacks have taken place over the last four months in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including:
• 1/9/12 – Four swastikas found scrawled on Midtown business storefronts
• 1/4/12 – Three violent attacks against Orthodox Jews in Midwood, including the mugging of a prominent rabbi
• 11/28/11– Anti-Semitic graffiti painted on windshield of car in MarinePark, Brooklyn
• 11/26/11– Swastika found scrawled on Williamsburgbuilding – the second of its kind found in 9 days
• 11/22/11– Man stabbed on F train subway platform by two men who shouted anti-Semitic slurs
• 11/16/11 – Brooklyn Subway station for Avenue J defaced with “Avenue JEW” graffiti
• 11/12/11 – Multiple cars set on fire and defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti in Midwood, Brooklyn
• 11/4/11 – Hateful graffiti found on multiple sidewalks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• 10/14/11 – Two anti-Semitic letters sent to the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan
The Borough President today urged the NYPD to release hate crimes statistics for 2011 to determine the degree to which this has been rising throughout all parts of New York City. “If in fact we are seeing a spike in hate crimes, we need the tools to combat it. I look forward to working with the NYPD ensure we combat this trend as aggressively as possible,” said Borough President Stringer.
“This ongoing escalation in anti-Semitic hate crimes must be vigorously denounced and investigated with the full force of our law enforcement,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “The motivations behind this recent uptick are unclear, but the fact remains that all anti-Semitism and bigotry targeting Jews or others is anathema to our society and totally unacceptable. I join my friends — Jewish and otherwise — in condemning the perpetrators and pushing for their apprehension.”
“This is a country of tolerance,” New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “The individuals who committed these acts of vandalism should be held fully accountable and pay for their actions. We must have a zero tolerance policy for these terrible acts.”
“Anti-Semitic vandalism is an act of bigotry and intolerance. Make no mistake, it’s a threat against New York and what this city stands for,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “Wherever hate appears, the entire community must stand strong to make clear that is has no place in our city, or anywhere for that matter.”
“We cannot allow acts of anti-Semitism or any other prejudice to go unpunished. After all, our diversity is what makes this city so wonderful,” said Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner. “I want to thank Borough President Stringer for bringing attention to these heinous acts of discrimination and showing the perpetrators this behavior will not stand.”
“It’s important to take opportunities like this to come together as a community to say that the kinds of violence, hatred, and bigotry that the swastika represents have no place in our society,” said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh.
“One of the most discouraging and disgusting examples of hate in our City is the recent rash of anti-Semitic vandalism in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” said Levin. “Today, I add my voice to the chorus and thank Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Rabbi Potasnik, the ADL and all of the leaders of New York’s Jewish community for standing together against hate; we will not tolerate hate in our communities. I applaud the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force and encourage their continued vigilance in ensuring that our communities are safe from hate and intolerance.”
“As we approach our annual commemoration of the memory and principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we cannot be silent in the face of atrocity,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens. “This is atrocity. I applaud Borough President Stringer for his swift action in speaking out against defamation of any kind.”
“Swastikas are primal symbols of hate which tear into the fabric of society,” said Michael S. Miller, Executive Vice President and CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “The most effective response to such acts is to expose the hatemongers and to prosecute them to the full extent of the law. The record of the NYPD and the Hate Crimes Task Force is exemplary. We have every faith that they will pursue the evidence wherever it leads and bring this case, and similar recent ones, to justice.”
“Hate crimes, including vandalism directed at the Jewish community, cannot be tolerated and UJA-Federation stands with Borough President Stringer in his effort to combat anti-Semitism across the City,” said Cara Berkowitz, Director of City and Federal Affairs for UJA-Federation of New York.
“AJC NY strongly condemns any acts of hatred, and is especially outraged that multiple swastikas were drawn this past weekend on midtown businesses,” said Michael Schmidt, AJC NY Director. “We have full confidence that the NYPD hate crime unit will fully investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice. We are gratified that NY public officials are speaking out about this hateful act, as they have about other such recent incidents. It is important that hate crimes not be seen as only a matter for law enforcement to investigate, but also for all New Yorkers of good will to condemn.” For over 100 years AJC has been committed to building bridges and strengthening relations between communities across New York City and throughout the globe.”
“Sadly, we have learned that hate has no boundaries,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the NY Board of Rabbis. “It may begin with Jews as victims but it does not stop there. Thus, all of us must stand together and speak with one voice against those who do not respect the human family.”
“We are outraged and dismayed by these despicable anti-Semitic incidents,” said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director. “This episode is just the latest in a series of deeply troubling acts of hatred and intimidation in New York City in recent weeks. These incidents are not just targeting stores, but they are aimed at intimidating and frightening an entire community. We must send a message that this behavior is unacceptable and will be prosecuted.”