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Leaders react to swastika found painted on Oceanside sidewalk

Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D'Esposito sought the public's

Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D'Esposito sought the public's help on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, to track down a graffiti vandal who spray painted a swastika on a Oceanside resident's sidewalk.   Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead officials and Oceanside community leaders decried a swastika spray-painted on a sidewalk this week and advocated for ending symbols of hate speech.

Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito gathered Thursday with residents, Jewish war veterans and rabbis on Lincoln Avenue, urging the public to come forward to help identify the vandals who drew a swastika and lewd graffiti on residents’ fences.

“The graffiti found in Oceanside was criminal. Our township is home to many World War II veterans and others who endured the horror of Nazi death camps,” D’Esposito said. “Swastikas have no place in a free, democratic society.”

Residents of two homes found the graffiti Wednesday morning. Nassau County police were continuing to search for evidence Thursday and looking for any home security cameras that may have captured the vandalism.

D’Esposito said some have speculated the graffiti could have been done by teens off from school during winter break, but he urged they be identified so they can be taught the atrocities of the Holocaust and the meaning swastikas carry. He said if it was done with malice, the vandals should be caught and punished.

“There’s nothing funny about displaying the swastika,” D’Esposito said. “It is a symbol of hate and a reminder to so many of a dark time in our history.”

Rabbi Levi Gurkov, of Chabad of Oceanside, said Oceanside was a community of tolerance but would not stand for symbols of hate to be displayed.

“We’re here to say we’re not going to tolerate that or stand by in silence,” Gurkov said. “If we all just educate ourselves a little bit that every single human being has an intrinsic value to give to society, then we dissipate all the hate and there’s no room for anger or animosity because we love each other.”

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