Brooklyn, NY - Elected Officials Denounce Anti-Semitic Flyers Found in Park Slope
Brooklyn, NY - Responding to anti-Semitic flyers found in areas of Park Slope, Brooklyn last week, local elected officials and religious leaders gathered at Congregation Beth Elohim today to decry this and other recent incidents in Brooklyn, and to stand united against hatred.
“There is no room for hate speech and intimidation against any group in our community,” said Councilmember Brad Lander who convened the press conference. “We are here today to speak out against these kind of anti-Semitic actions, and more importantly to show our united front against those who would try to divide us.
“I am deeply concerned about reports of anti-Semitic literature found in my district,” stated Representative Yvette Clarke. “These hateful messages are meant to bring fear and division among our community and are totally unacceptable. I stand firm with the 11th Congressional District in decrying this heinous act of prejudice and bigotry.”
“Anti-Semitism, which unfortunately continues to persist in our community, obviously has no place in Brooklyn,” said Assemblyman Jim Brennan. “I stand in solidarity with other elected officials, religious leaders and members of the community to say that not only will such hateful behavior not be tolerated, but strong, united action is required to denounce it, stop it and apprehend the perpetrators.”
“I am appalled by these notes. They are hurtful and unacceptable,” said Councilman Steve Levin, who also represents Park Slope. “I stand by my fellow elected officials in outrage.”
“This administration has zero tolerance for such acts,” said Nazli Parvizi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. “We will continue to be aggressive in the fight against hate while working to bridge communities to create positive, lasting relationships that ultimately benefit all New Yorkers.”
State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “The distribution of hateful, anti-Semitic tracts in Brooklyn is becoming a borough-wide problem, and we must put a stop to it. Today I join my colleagues and our community to send a clear message that threatening hate speech will not be tolerated.”
The slips of paper with inflammatory remarks against Jewish people were found scattered across 6th Ave in Park Slope on Wednesday evening, and were immediately turned over to the 78th precinct, who submitted them to the NYPD hate crimes unit.
This is not the first time that such flyers have been found in Brooklyn. Similar notes turned up in Bay Ridge, Boerum Hill and Clinton Hill last fall, and in front of two synagogues in Brooklyn Heights in 2007.
“Brooklyn is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, “so it’s particularly disturbing that we are still seeing despicable incidents of intolerance such as the cowardly, anti-Semitic words of hate found in Park Slope. Brooklyn’s diversity is our strength, and ultimately there is more that unites us than divides us. So we must remain vigilant in condemning hatred and discrimination against anyone—not only in Park Slope and Brooklyn, but around the world.”
Showing their united support for the Park Slope Jewish community, local religious leaders from across faiths joined the elected officials this afternoon.
“Statements, symbols or acts of hate are simply unacceptable as they tear at the very fabric of our society,” said Rabbi Bob Kaplan of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “We need to insure the voices of inclusively and understanding are our guides in face of those that seek to destroy our American values.”
Reverend Daniel Meeter from Old First Reformed Church said, “Hatred against one is hatred against everyone. Because we hold each other sacred, we have no room for this in our community.”
“We stand here united against all hate crimes,” said Mohammad Razvi, the Executive Director of the Council of Peoples Organization, a local Pakistani Group. “A crime against one is a crime against us all.”
The elected officials and the religious leaders pledged to work with the NYPD to find whomever is spreading these notes around their neighborhoods, and to ensure all people and places of worship around their district stay safe and protected.
One of the two local rabbis in attendance, Rabbi Ellen Lippman from Congregation Kolot Chayeinu evoked scripture in her response to the flyers saying, “We learn from the early sage Hillel that ‘if I am not for myself, who will be for me?’ Therefore I stand with my colleague rabbis and other concerned Jews to make this anti-Semitic hatred public and to strongly condemn it. Hillel also taught, ‘If I am for myself alone, who am I?’ We call on all who condemn such hatred in our neighborhood to stand with us in determined opposition. And Hillel asked, ‘If not now, when?’ The time is now, without delay, to make public this outrageous display of cowardice and hatred, and to call for immediate investigation into its origins and perpetrators.”
Rabbi Andy Bachman, whose synagogue Beth Elohim hosted the event, summarized the sentiments saying, “these recent statements of ‘kill Jews’ are deeply troubling. Hatred of this kind, against anyone, anywhere has no place in our neighborhood, our city, or our country. It only strengthens our resolve to build a tolerant and peaceful world.”
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