Swastika and the word "Raus" (Out) are sprayed at a asylum seeker accommodation in Waltrop, western Germany, on October 13, 2015..
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Jewish businesses in New York have become the target of a series of antisemitic attacks, local media has been reporting with an increasing frequency in recent weeks, and the latest escalation in the alarming uptick in antisemitic crime came on Wednesday when seven businesses were sent the same flyer marked with a swastika and containing other menacing symbols.
According to ABC News, seven business, all located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, were the recipients of the same hateful flyer. Among the businesses targeted were three law firms in Sheepshead Bay, the Harlem Business Alliance on Lenox Avenue, the Numero Uno Jewelry store on East 116th Street, Borough Park Bakery and a Starbucks on West 145th Street.
At the top of the threatening flyer was a swastika, the religious icon that became the main feature of the Nazi symbolism. Beneath the image were phrases such as "Make America Great Again" (the famous slogan used by US President Donald Trump during the elections campaign and presumably used in this instance to imply that Jews must be ousted from America) and "out with the Jews" as well as other threats targeting people of color and homosexuals.
The first letter was sent to the Weiss Kosher Bakery on 13th Avenue in New York City, and bakery owner Abraham Weiss has contacted Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who then released a photo of the flyer in question. The New York Assemblyman shared the image of the flyer on Twitter, writing: "Landmark Brooklyn business threatened; I've contacted NYPD bias unit. We take hate crimes VERY seriously here."
Weiss told ABC News that he was "not afraid" but that receiving the threat was "a shock."
"First it's shock, then it's disgusting. We're going back to the World War II era. Why would people do such a thing? I would never do anything to anyone," he related.
An investigation into the alarming incident was opened by the New York Police Department and the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, who have urged people who have information to step forward and share it with law enforcement.
Evan Bernstein of the Anti-Defamation League told ABC that the organization doesn't have specific numbers on hate mail but that "we know the NYPD has seen over a 30 percent spike in antisemitic hate crimes in New York City already this year... so that's incredibly concerning for us. We've also seen an uptick in overall hate crimes in New York City, and I think these kinds of incidents are very detrimental not only to the individual that's having to read the letter, but also to the rest of the community fearful that [this is] what people are really thinking about them."
In a statement released to the press, Bernstein, the organization's New York Regional Director, also said that the ADL were "monitoring this and looking into whether these flyers are connected with any particular hate group, or if they are appearing in other places around the country."
The ADL added in the statement that the group was looking into a report about a similar flyer sent to an address in Los Angeles. The organization also noted that the letters, that were all sent through the mail with on return address, included other phrases such as "Christian Identity is Back," referencing a religious ideology which claims that Jews are the Satanic offspring of Eve and the Serpent, while people who are not white are dubbed "mud people" that were created before the time of the biblical Adam and Eve.
The ADL concluded by saying that it "strongly condemns" the series of "vicious antisemitic, racist and homophonic letters apparently targeting Jewish-owned businesses in New York City."