A prominent member of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community says a swastika was spray-painted on a sidewalk in the neighborhood.
Mordechai Lightstone, 32, was walking to a nearby store when he noticed the swastika graffitied in white paint on Montgomery St. near Brooklyn Ave. in Crown Heights Sunday morning.
“It’s appalling, this is the heart of the Jewish area,” he said, adding, “It’s not something that should happen in New York or anywhere, ever.”
Lightstone said that while it was a shocking sight, it was not without precedent. He said anti-Semitism and hateful online trolling has tragically become routine during this election cycle.
“Over the past 15 months or so there’s been an increase of anti-Semitism, particularly online,” he said. The trolls online … I had my face Photoshopped into a gas chamber, told that I control the banks. It comes from all sides, right and the left,” he said.
The election district there voted 56.55% for Trump versus 39.5% for Hillary Clinton, according to the Board of Election’s unofficial results.
Someone from the community later placed an orange cone over the graffiti, blocking it from public view, Lightsone said.
Yaacov Behrman, 34, a rabbi and founder of the Jewish Future Alliance that advocates for minorities, said he too was not surprised by the incident.
“I’m used to this. Seeing a swastika upsets me, but I’m sort of numb. I see hatred, I know there’s racists and anti-Semetism in the world,” said Behrman, who lives two blocks from where this latest incident occurred.
“We condemn this in the strongest terms. This is completely unacceptable,” he said.
The Mayor’s office also tweeted out a condemnation of the graffiti.
“Acts of violence in our beautifully diverse city will not be tolerated. We are all better than this,” the tweet said.
Similar incidents have been widely reported in recent days.
Swastikas were also painted on four dormitory doors at the New School and in a common area at the SUNY Geneseo campus on Friday.
The NYPD’s Hate-Crime Task Force is investigating the latest case, according to community leaders.