Organizers canceled a political event featuring progressive celebrities, journalists, and politicians after discovering anti-semitic messages in graffiti on multiple floors of a Brooklyn synagogue. Gothamist reports that the hateful messages included “die Jew rats,” “Kill all Jews,” and “Hitler.”
The 8 p.m. event, hosted by Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, featured Democracy Now host Amy Goodman and New York state senate candidates Andrew Gounardes to discuss politics and activism at Union Temple ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. But before the event could begin, organizers found the anti-semitic graffiti.
“Ilana came out visibly upset to let us know what had happened,” attendee Shelby Quackenbush told Gothamist. “We heard was that someone had just before the event scrawled anti-Semitic hate speech and slurs on the walls of the synagogue where the talk was to take place and the organizers felt unsafe continuing with the event.”
The graffiti is another indicator that anti-semitism is on the rise, as Republicans openly embrace white nationalism and spew messages of hate and intolerance. On Sunday, a white man killed 11 Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, becoming one of the deadliest attacks against the Jewish community in the United States. Just this week, swastikas appeared on multiple buildings in New York City, including one Brooklyn home that was vandalized with a swastika and the N-word.
“What we’ve seen in the last month is an increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, particularly Swastikas on buildings in parts of the city,” New York City Police Department Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told the New York Post on Wednesday. “Anti-Semitic hate crimes make up about half of all of the hate crimes that we see in New York City.”
The Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is currently investigating the incident at the synagogue.
Update 11/2/18, 1:07 p.m.: Amy Goodman and Ilana Glazer discussed the incident in on Friday morning in an interview for Democracy Now.
“We just walked outside the green room, and we saw, right by the all-gender bathroom, the words scrawled, kind of with Magic Marker, and it said, ‘Insert’—but it left out the N—’Insert oven here,’ Goodman recalled.
“Mm-hmm, yeah,” Glazer responded. “And what was scary was that it was all over the building. And then the cops were kind of searching the building. It was too freaky. It was too freaky to hold it.” They subsequently decided to cancel the event.
“My Jewish identity means a lot to me,” Glazer continued. “And I implore other Jews to align themselves with those who are also othered in this country. You know, this country was built on the backs of black and brown bodies. And Jews are in this weird middle space, but we are all othered.”
“As a unit, we are strong and can stand up and make change in these midterm elections,” she continued. “I really hope that we do. Our voices matter. And we have to be a little more strategic about our safety, but we can make change, very imminently.”