Jewish community leaders were forced to cancel a political event at a Brooklyn synagogue Thursday after they discovered anti-Semitic graffiti saying “Kill all Jews” – like the words the gunman in Pittsburgh reportedly shouted inside the Tree of Life synagogue when he was firing on worshippers during Shabbat service last Saturday.
New York Police said they discovered the anti-Semitic messages scrawled on the stairwell in black marker at Union Temple, which also included “Hitler” and “Jews be ready,” AM-NY reported.
“Broad City” actress Ilana Glazer had planned to host an event at the historic synagogue in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in support of state Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes, who issued a statement saying the attack was "a painful reminder that anti-semitism and prejudice are alive and well in our own community."
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio also commented on it in a statement on Twitter. “Children go to school here. This is the vilest kind of hate… Union Temple is stronger than this. Brooklyn is stronger than this. We will fight anti-Semitism with every fiber of our being.”
There’s been no official data on whether anti-Semitic hate crimes have increased in the week following the Pittsburgh shooting, but a few other instances of anti-Semitic graffiti in New York this week are part of a recent uptick noted by the NYPD. On Wednesday, swastikas and racial slurs were found scrawled in chalk on someone’s garage door on a quiet residential block in Brooklyn Heights.
Two swastikas were also found painted onto a concrete outpost in the Hudson River on New York’s Upper West Side on Thursday.
“We’ve seen in the last month an increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, particularly swastikas, on buildings in part of the city,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said in a briefing earlier this week. “In the last 28 days, particularly, which is a little troublesome, we have seen an uptick in that category.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks hate in America, there were 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from 1,267 in 2016. It’s a reversal from earlier years, when anti-Semitic incidents were trending downward. In 2017, Jewish graves or cemeteries were desecrated seven times, according to the ADL. They also included bomb threats called into Jewish centers, and swastikas drawn on synagogues, as part of their count.