Brooklyn synagogue defaced with hate messages

A Brooklyn man was arrested and charged with hate crimes after anti-Semitic messages were found in a temple, police said.

Posted: Nov 5, 2018 6:03 AM
Updated: Nov 5, 2018 6:03 AM

A Brooklyn man was arrested and charged with hate crimes Friday night after anti-Semitic messages were found in a temple, police said.

James Polite, 26, was charged with four counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree as a hate crime and making graffiti.

Graffiti was found on four floors of the Union Temple on Thursday night, some of which said "Hitler," "Jews better be ready" and "Die Jew rats we are here," the New York Police Department reported.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attended Shabbat services at the temple Friday night as a show of solidarity.

After the service, he told journalists the incident was a horrible act of hate and "deeply disturbing to all New Yorkers."

"But it is particularly painful for members of the Jewish community who feel very vulnerable right now, who feel under attack," de Blasio said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was directing the state's hate crime unit to investigate.

"The disgusting rhetoric and heinous violence in this nation has reached a fever pitch and is ripping at the fabric of America, and it must stop," he said. "In New York, we have forged community through chords of commonality and we will always stand together against hate and discrimination."

Other cities have seen anti-Semitic acts this week

Swastikas have appeared in at least a handful of US cities since a massacre in Pittsburgh in which 11 worshipers were killed.

On Wednesday morning, a New York City resident posted pictures of swastikas that had been scrawled on homes in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

The Nazi symbols also appeared on Navy property this week in Bucks County, near Philadelphia. Warminster Township Manager Gregg Schuster posted online that local officials have been in contact with the Navy to get the symbols removed.

"The use of the swastika is a cowardly act," he said. "In light of what our neighbors in Pittsburgh recently went through, I hope we can refrain from using these symbols of hate. There is no place in Warminster for this disgusting act and I know our community will never accept this behavior."

A swastika also was found scrawled on a piece of paper in an elevator Monday at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, according to CNN affiliate WHAM.

Also this week, authorities said a synagogue in Irvine, California, had been vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Someone spray-painted "F*** Jews" early Wednesday on the wall of Beth Jacob Congregation in Irvine, police said.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been increasing in the US in the last few years, according to the Anti-Defamation League

The Rabbinical Assembly, an international association of conservative rabbis, said last weekend's shooting is a reminder that anti-Semitism "is on the rise in America at a rate unprecedented in decades."

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