Occupy Wall Street joins rally against hate crime

Marchers take to the streets in Brooklyn neighborhood where swastikas were spray painted, cars set on fire on Kristallnacht anniversary.

November 14, 2011 19:17
2 minute read.
Brooklyn bridge (illustrative)

brooklyn bridge 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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NEW YORK – Politicians, Occupy Wall Street-ers and residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Midwood marched on Sunday afternoon in a hundred-person demonstration against last week’s anti-Semitic arson and vandalism.

Those demonstrating, including New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, said the march was meant to defy Friday’s anti-Semitic acts on Ocean Parkway, where three cars were torched with gasoline and benches and walls were defaced with anti-Semitic messages.

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The Ocean Parkway march drew elected officials including Hikind and State Senator Eric Adams as well as city council members from Brooklyn.

Hikind, who lives two blocks from where the cars were vandalized, told The New York Times that the arson, intertwined with anti-Semitism, was unprecedented in New York.

“With the swastikas, with the KKK [Ku Klux Klan], all together it paints a very ugly picture,” Hikind said. “If it was only the swastikas, we would be upset. But when you add the violence, it adds another dimension. I don’t remember anything like it in the 29 years I’m in public office.”

More than two dozen participants in Occupy Wall Street joined the demonstration against the attacks.

In a statement approved by Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly, members of the movement said that attempts to link OWS to the “heinous acts” compelled OWS to speak out against them.

“When an act of violence and bigotry occurs in our community, we, as a group, need to take a leadership role and stand with other community leaders and fellow New Yorkers to speak out in opposition to these acts,” the statement read. “History teaches us that silence can be interpreted as approving or condoning the bigotry.

“The media has attempted to implicate OWS in these criminal acts while offering zero evidence to support their claims. This ignores the fact that OWS’s values and daily activities demonstrate openness, inclusiveness, and equality,” the statement read.

“We represent a wide array of political beliefs, races, religions and sexual orientations.

OWS strives to mirror the diversity of our city. We are growing, and highly inclusive, and these aspects make it possible for some to mischaracterize, defame, and vilify this movement.

“Let’s stand together and show the world that acts like this will not be tolerated in our community,” the statement concluded.

Protesters noted that the attack occurred one day after the 73rd anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms, which struck at the heart of German Jewry.

“I am the child of a Holocaust survivor, and this makes me uncomfortable,” Judy Pfeffer, 62, a retired city education department employee, told NBCNewyork.com. “Even then, it was just vandalism. But it led to the Holocaust.”

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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