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Community Leaders Condemn Hate Symbol

Clarkstown Police investigating Swastika painted on a New City street as potential hate crime.

The discovery of a blue spray painted Swastika, a symbol of the Nazi Party, drew condemnation from government officials, Jewish community leaders and members of the general public. The symbol that reminded many of the horrors of the Holocaust was found in the middle of Lady Godiva Way, a residential street in New City on Monday morning. 

Among those speaking out against the incident was Robert Pitkofsky, chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Nat Wasserstein, president of the Jewish Federation of Rockland County, who issued the following statement.

“The Jewish Federation of Rockland County strongly condemns the use of a hate symbol in a New City neighborhood this morning. The use of these symbols divides the community and distracts us from our work of building community and bringing people together.

The Jewish community is celebrating Sukkot, a happy festival that marks the end of the personal and communal deep reflection of the High Holy Days. We feel that it is imperative that we pause from our celebration to denounce this hateful act.

We urge that our partners and friends from throughout our wonderfully diverse county join our community leaders in denouncing this vicious act.” 

The mark was painted on the street in front of Steve Gold’s house.  Gold said after a neighbor discovered it and made him aware of it and police were notified, he sent emails to elected officials in Clarkstown and state government.

“I take this stuff seriously,” said Gold, who is a leader in Rockland County’s Jewish community. “They need to be aware of what’s going on in their community too.”

Gold said it was upsetting to see the symbol of hate.

“It’s sad that this is 2012 and the community that we live in people would do this,” he said.

Patch readers reacted and added their thoughts and feelings.

Steve Kunis wrote, “This is a symbol of anti-Semitism, hatred and a reminder of six million Jews exterminated by a despicable human being and his henchman. This was a planned act of committing a hate crime. Hopefully the law will come down swift and hard on these perpetrators!”

Mark commented, “How disappointing to see this happen.”

Rockland Legislator Ed Day wrote, “It is a sad commentary that there are some people who still do not understand nor care just how hurtful an act such as this is, or comprehend the horrors that are brought to mind when one sees a swastika. There is no place for hate such as this in our community, and am hopeful that justice will be meted out to the person or persons responsible. Let us all be one voice in condemning hateful acts such as this.”

Clarkstown police said it is unknown whether this incident is a random act or a targeted act. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Clarkstown Police Department at 845-639-5800 or the anonymous Tips Line at 877-639-6233. 

Police said an asterisk symbol was also painted nearby on a manhole cover in the same blue spray paint.

lorri eskenazi October 02, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Acts of ignorance such as the spraying of a swastika, a known symbol of hate, is a sad commentary on the world view that some individuals hold. This means we have more work to do with regard to educating and enlightening the community as a whole so that hurtful and hateful acts like this one cease to exist.
Robin Traum (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 01:59 PM
The Clarkstown Police continue to investigate the incident and urge the public to come forward if they have any information.
Mike October 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I absolutely agree that this is hate and intolerance and should not be accepted. I am happy to see our community voice their outrage over this act. It therefore makes me wonder why the same outrage or even the same amount of press and commnets from our elected leaders are not raised when a museuem in NYC decides to "exhibit" a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine. This is as equally offensive to Christians and in a certain sense is more outrageous as a "museum" promotes it as art. I would love to see our community, media, and local leaders speak out on this outrage as well.
Steve Gold October 02, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who have expressed outrage to the Swastika incident and reached out by sharing your encouraging words. There is never an adequate answer to the why and that is the reason we must continue to educate, continue to remember, and continue to never forget.
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day October 02, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Mike: You are 100% correct in your outrage, and I firmly share that sentiment. I find the "art" display disgusting and offensive, and just one more example of all too often accepted anti Christian hate. I can assure you that if this type of display occurred here in my legislative district I would have immediately condemned that also. I can only offer that maybe those elected officials that share common geography with us here in Rockand and the NYC area, such as our United States Senators, be communicated with directly by you and have the same question posed to them. I would like to think their reaction would be just as swift. Thank you for providing all of us with this very important insight.

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