Hating hate: Pols, religious leaders decry anti-Semitic fliers

In the Press

Hating hate: Pols, religious leaders decry anti-Semitic fliers

Thomas Tracy
Park Slope Courier
02/03/2010

Somewhere out there is an unhinged anti-Semite distributing tiny strips of paper reading “Kill Jews.”

These menacing missives were left blowing along Sixth Avenue last week, falling in the hands of area residents and children on their way home from school.

But, in the end, this flier fiend isn’t getting the message: one cannot drive fear in a community that’s standing together.

That’s the sentiment City Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope), other elected officials and local religious leaders expressed Monday as they spoke out against the fear-mongering fliers found in Park Slope and other neighborhoods.

Their message to whoever’s putting out these hate-filled notes was loud and clear.

“This is a community united in support of each other and there is nothing you can do to stop that,” said Lander as he hosted a press conference at Congregation Beth Elohim on Eighth Avenue and Garfield Place, just a few blocks from where the fliers were found.

Officials learned that the strips of paper, all of which have the simple, yet sinister, message, were found scattered across Sixth Avenue between Fourth and Ninth streets.

Word about these messages spread quickly. Lander’s office learned about it through a Jewish newspaper which reprinted a story about the anti-Semitic attack from the Brooklyn Paper, a CNG sister publication that first wrote about the leaflets.

“There is no room for hate speech and intimidation against any group in our community,” Lander said.

Other elected officials attending the press conference included Rep. Yvette Clarke, City Councilmember Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights) and Borough President Marty Markowitz, who described the flier writer as a “mishugena mutant.”

“The people or persons who put out these leaflets of hate is one sick person or a person so consumed with self hate that self hate is being directed to a particular ethnic group,” Markowitz said. “I can assure you that the mutant will eventually be apprehended and receive the proper punishment.”

Levin said that incidents like this show how residents should always be “vigilant against hate.”

“Circumstances like these are never too far off,” he said. “As a society we have to keep our eyes open and make sure that any form of hate speak is challenged and debunked.”

Lander said that the strips of paper have been given to the 78th Precinct. The case is currently being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit.

But this is not the first time these strips had been dumped on the borough. Very similar messages have been found in Boerum Hill, Bay Ridge and Clinton Hill over the last few months.

While finding the fliers alarming, Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim said that residents shouldn’t be “overly worried” about them.

“My immediate thought was to connect them to these economic times,” he said. “Throughout history economic crisis has caused hate to rear its head and haters look for scapegoats.”

“Still, we have to watch this carefully and see how it unfolds,” he said.

Anyone with information regarding the fliers is encouraged to contact either the 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411 or (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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