Long Island anti-hate task force to be established after Holocaust center defaced twice

Swastikas and the word “n***r” were among some of the racist graffiti found at the center in the last two weeks.

The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County located in Long Island, New York (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County located in Long Island, New York
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Long Island plans to establish an anti-hate task force following the defacing of a Holocaust center with racist graffiti twice in the last two weeks.
Swastikas were among some of the racist graffiti found late last week on The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center (HMTC) of Nassau County in Glen Cove, New York, while the week before, the word “n***r” was found among the graffiti spray painted next to a memorial garden for child victims of the Holocaust.
A statement released by the HMTC said that they were “shocked and saddened about the appearance of this representation of Nazi ideology.
“Ironically, we learned about this symbol of hate appearing here on the same day we hosted a major public event on antisemitism,” acting director of development at the museum Deborah Lom said in the statement. “We are now coordinating with the Glen Cove Police and Nassau County officials about how to respond.
“In the meantime, we commit ourselves to continuing to educate young people and adults about the Holocaust, and these offensive and hurtful symbols of hate,” she added.
Lom told The Jerusalem Post that “an island-wide task force to address antisemitism and symbols of hate” is in the process of being formed, and that a press conference about the matter was held on Monday morning.
She said that the center specifically works on encouraging “young people to remember the Holocaust, and how to be more tolerant.
“We use the history and lessons of the Holocaust to educate students (and adults) about how to safely and effectively be Upstanders who combat antisemitism, bullying and all manifestations of intolerance in their schools and communities,” she said.
The center’s chairman Steven Markowitz said during Monday’s press conference that they were left shocked and saddened over the antisemitic incident.
“HMTC teaches that the Holocaust did not start with concentration camps and gas chambers,” he said. “It started with bullying, name-calling, discrimination and graffiti. Seemingly small, innocuous actions can lead to much worse if left unchecked.”
Markowitz made it clear that they are “committed to continuing to educate students and adults about the lessons of the Holocaust and the dangers of antisemitism, bullying and all other forms of hate and discrimination.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran also addressed the press conference, making it clear that vandalism at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center is an unacceptable form of bigotry. “We may have been able to wash away the graffiti, but we cannot wash away the feelings that these symbols leave,” Curran said. “This bi-county coalition will work to educate our communities about the negative impacts of antisemitism and hatred, as well as stress the value of the diversity of our population.”
She stressed that they cannot allow antisemitic and hateful acts, “whether they come in the form of graffiti, speech, discrimination or violence, to become normalized and find comfort in our communities.”
US Congresswoman Kathleen Rice made it clear that the community is not only speaking out against antisemitism, “but we are taking real action to address these recent incidents head-on.”
She applauded Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for creating this task force, “which will send a clear and strong message that antisemitism, bigotry and symbols of hate have absolutely no place on Long Island.”
According to Curran, the island-wide anti-hate initiative will unite elected officials, law enforcement and community leaders to educate young people and adults about tolerance and find solutions to end the rising hate crimes in the region.
“In the coming weeks, leaders will be convening to develop a comprehensive roll-out plan for outreach and education to combat issues of discrimination, hatred and bigotry across Long Island, as well as encourage the values of diversity and tolerance,” she added.
Following Thursday’s incident, New York State Senator Jim Gaughran said he was “sickened by the news of yet another disturbing incident at the sacred [HMTC]. This pattern of offensive and antisemitic defacement is horrifying, hateful, and illegal… I will be convening an Anti-Hate Task Force to end this pattern of hateful behavior and address these disturbing hate crimes.
“We will be looking at solutions from the state level to address and end this climate of hate,” the senator stressed.