An outbreak of anti-Semitic violence in the Midwood section of Brooklyn—coming on the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, no less—is a sad reminder that even in this famously tolerant city, there are those who eagerly tend the fires of hatred and bigotry.
Three cars were set ablaze in Midwood last weekend. Vandals painted swastikas on park benches. The letters “KKK” was spray-painted on a van. These unspeakable acts of hatred were carried out in a quiet community home to many Jews, some of them Holocaust survivors.
The crimes are outrageous, but clearly not uncommon. A survey by the Anti-Defamation League shows that New York State (not just the city) had the second-highest number of anti-Semitic hate crimes in the nation last year.
Residents gathered on Sunday in a show of solidarity against those who sought to terrorize them. But solidarity isn’t enough. A full investigation is in order, and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has promised just that. Mr. Hynes clearly gets it—he said he believed it was no coincidence that the vandalism was carried out to coincide with the anniversary of Kristallnacht.
No wonder, then, that many residents admit that they’re more than a little frightened. “Any place where the Jewish people are, they’re scared,” one resident told the media.
That, of course, is outrageous and unacceptable. All the more reason why the bigots should be caught and prosecuted as quickly as possible. No Jew—no person of any creed, color, or sexual orientation—should live in fear in New York City. People come here to escape fear, not to have their fears realized.
The residents of Midwood should know that the City of New York stands with them and has nothing but contempt for the bigots who defaced their community.