Swastika Found in Williamsburg Part of Increased Anti-Semitism, Leaders Say

By Meredith Hoffman on January 13, 2012 6:56pm 

WILLIAMSBURG — A swastika found scrawled inside a Wythe Avenue housing complex Thursday is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic hate crimes to strike Williamsburg, Brooklyn religious and political leaders said Friday.

"Do these people understand what it means to a Holocaust survivor when he sees a swastika?" said Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, at a press conference Friday across from Kent Housing, where the offending symbol was allegedly discovered. 

"This is not just discrimination — this is a threat to our community."

The swastika was found scrawled in an elevator at the 541 Wythe Ave. public housing development about 3 a.m. Thursday, according to Councilman Steve Levin's office. He said the swastika is being investigated by the NYPD, adding he has "lost track" of the number of recent anti-Semitic incidents locally.

Swastikas were also found last week on storefronts in Midtown Manhattan.

"The police have to do better to make sure this does not happen," said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol of the incident.

Carlo Scissura, senior advisor to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, said the alleged perpetrators should receive the harshest punishment possible.

"We all know Brooklyn is the world’s center of diversity," Scissura said. "When you’re in Brooklyn, you must act in respect to all people."

Rabbi Neiderman recalled about seven incidents in the past year, including swastikas found in Bedford Gardens housing, at a public housing development on Marcy Avenue, and on the sidewalk near Berry and South Ninth streets.

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