Nassau and Suffolk Counties plan to establish a joint anti-hate task force, after a local Holocaust center was marred by racist graffiti twice in the last two weeks.
Swastikas and racial slurs were among the graffiti found on The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center (HMTC) of Glen Cove, Nassau County.
In a statement released by the HMTC said 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 anti-Semitism,” 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.
HMTC chairman Steven Markowitz said at a press conference where the task force plan was introduced, that “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 anti-Semitism, bullying and all other forms of hate and discrimination.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran also addressed the press conference, saying: “We may have been able to wash away the graffiti, but we cannot wash away the feelings that these symbols leave. This bi-county coalition will work to educate our communities about the negative impacts of anti-Semitism and hatred as well as stress the value of the diversity of our population.”
She stressed that they cannot allow anti-Semitic and hateful acts, “whether they come in the form of graffiti, speech, discrimination or violence, to become normalized and find comfort in our communities.”
Following Thursday’s incident, New York State Senator Jim Gaughran said that “this pattern of offensive and anti-Semitic 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.”
Glen Cove police Det. Lt. John Nagle reported that about a half-dozen pieces of graffiti were found on the grounds of the Holocaust Memorial. Video surveillance footage captured four people but so far, there have been no arrests.
He added that investigators believe the two incidents are related, based on the spray paint used in both incidents.