Hempstead Town Board Members and local rabbis denounced antisemitic graffiti left Tuesday on a sign with the names of elected officials outside Town Hall.
Town Supervisor Don Clavin said a worker Tuesday morning found the message denigrating Hebrew virtues on the sign.
The Town Board members and rabbis gathered in front of Town Hall on Tuesday vowed to condemn and reject antisemitism in the Town of Hempstead, which Clavin says is home to the second-largest Jewish community in the United States, behind New York City.
“This heinous, disgusting act should sicken everyone here,” Clavin said. “We’re outraged. Antisemitism has no place in our society and our country and we’re not going to have it in the Town of Hempstead. We’re going to hold them accountable.”
Clavin said he'd spoken to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and police were reviewing video footage around Town Hall at Washington Street and Peninsula Boulevard.
The graffiti follows several antisemitic flyers distributed in the past two months in Rockville Centre, Oceanside and Freeport. The flyers were left at homes overnight and were printed by a group calling themselves the Goyim Defense League, which police said they would seek to prosecute for harassment.
Town officials have publicly denounced the flyers, but authorities have not tied them to the graffiti at Town Hall.
Deputy Supervisor Dorothy Goosby called for more lighting around Town Hall to discourage future vandalism and the spread of hate.
“I have lived this all my life and you think it’s finished but it’s not. Now it’s spilling over to everyone. Those people responsible for this should not live in this country. You need to go somewhere else, where they accept it. We don’t accept it.”
Rabbi Anchelle Perl of Chabad of Mineola, called on countering acts of hate with acts of kindness.
“Let me tell you anyone who desecrates public property does not operate on virtue,” Perl said. “When darkness wishes to rear its ugly head, we respond with acts of kindness and virtue. Good people operate with good virtues.”
Councilman Anthony D'Esposito said residents should not have to live in fear of waking up to messages of hate on their front lawns.
"We as elected officials and religious officials must serve as the light on this issue and make sure we continue to speak out and voice our outrage," D'Esposito said. "Here at Town Hall, the seat of our government, someone was bold enough in a cowardly way to display hate. If you think you're intimidating us, you’re not."