An investigation is underway in Rockland County after anti-Semitic graffiti was found in vacant home in Haverstraw.
The home is owned by a bank and is currently for sale. The perpetrators were likely targeting potential Jewish buyers, in an attempt to intimidate them against moving into the area.
Baruch Weiner, 26, arrived at the house on Woodbridge Drive on Tuesday to find a glass pane on a basement door had been broken and the door unlocked. Upon entering, he quickly noticed the words “No Jews” painted on a basement wall in large, dark letters. Anti-Semitic messages also were found painted throughout the home, on floors and on kitchen appliances and cabinets.
Weiner, who had been inspecting the home on behalf of a prospective Orthodox Jewish buyer, then called police who told him they’d already been alerted to the break-in by neighbors and had seen the graffiti. Lt. Martin Lund of the Haverstraw Police Department said the department was investigating the incident as a hate crime. Police did not find fingerprints on the door, but did take urine samples from a bathroom used by the vandals.
This is not the first time anti-Semitic graffiti has appeared in the area. In mid-November, 2016, the words “No Jews” were found spray-painted in orange at two homes in nearby Pomona.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the anti-Semitic attack “which was designed to send a message of fear and intimidation not just to the victim, but also to the broader community,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York regional director, in a statement. “The vandalism of a home for sale in a county with a rapidly growing Jewish community sends a deplorable message that Jews are not welcome. We expect that community leaders and elected officials will make clear that all are welcome in Rockland and that anti-Semitism and bigotry have no place in our communities.” Mr. Bernstein added, “We have also reached out to Haverstraw Police Department to offer our assistance and urge that they investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.”
“Unfortunately, there is a small group that has engaged in hate,” Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder told the Daily Voice. “It is up to the rest of us to stand as one in the face of this repugnant belief system and behavior. I know the majority of county residents join with me in condemning these actions.”
Gary Siepser, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, condemned the graffiti. “The Jewish Federation is disgusted by this anti-Semitic hate and attempted intimidation,” Siepser said. “We call upon the police authorities to continue their investigation and to bring those guilty to justice. We also call upon civic leaders to continue their efforts to assure that Rockland County is a place where all feel welcome.”
“Hate speech is hate speech. And if it’s aimed at one population today, it’ll be aimed at another population tomorrow,” Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips said. “This will not be tolerated in Haverstraw,” Phillips added. “We have never had a problem like this. We’ve always been a diverse community of nationalities and religious backgrounds that have always gotten along and worked together.” Phillips urged anyone with information about the graffiti to call town police at 845-354-1500.
— ADL New York (@ADL_NY) May 26, 2017
(Nat Golden – YWN)