GLEN COVE, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was joined by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Chairman Steven Markowitz and over 40 elected officials, religious and community leaders to announce an Island-Wide Taskforce against Anti-Semitism and Symbols of Hate. The announcement comes following an increase in discrimination and bigotry across Long Island including a series of disturbing incidents of vandalism containing anti-Semitic and hate symbols at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
“The acts of vandalism at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center are unacceptable forms of bigotry. We may have been able to wash away the graffiti, but we cannot wash away the feelings that these symbols leave. This bi-county coalition will work to educate our communities about the negative impacts of anti-semitism and hatred as well as stress the value of the diversity of our population. We cannot allow anti-Semitic and hateful acts, whether they come in the form of graffiti, speech, discrimination or violence, to become normalized and find comfort in our communities,” said Nassau County Executive Curran.
The island-wide anti-hate initiative is intended to bring together elected officials, law enforcement and community leaders to educate young people and adults about tolerance and find solutions to end the rise of hate crimes in the region. In the coming weeks, leaders will be convening to develop a comprehensive roll-out plan for outreach and education to confront issues of discrimination, hatred and bigotry across Long Island as well as encourage the values of diversity and tolerance. The task force will aim to educate young people the value of tolerance and diversity, work closely with law enforcement to combat hate crimes, and collaborate with community groups across the Island to tap into resources and audiences to help spread the message far and wide.
“Long Islanders are coming together to unite against hate, stand up against division, and send a message across this state that we will not tolerate this any longer. This task force will provide a platform to bring together people from all communities and actually implement proposals that will have a positive impact on our daily lives. I want to thank my friend and colleague County Executive Curran for her leadership on this issue and so many other stakeholders who are teaming up during this important moment in time,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
“The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center and the community were shocked and saddened when graffiti including swastikas appeared on the grounds of Welwyn Preserve. HMTC teaches that the Holocaust did not start with concentration camps and gas chambers. It started with bullying, name-calling, discrimination and graffiti. Seemingly small, innocuous actions can lead to much worse if left unchecked. We are committed to continuing to educate students and adults about the lessons of the Holocaust and the dangers of antisemitism, bullying and all other forms of hate and discrimination,” said Steven Markowitz, Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Museum of Nassau County.
“White nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism in America are very real. It is a growing threat to our nation and we must do all we can to fight it. That is why I am a strong supporter of legislation like the Never Again Education Act, which would give American teachers the resources they need to teach our children about the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of hate. I would also like to thank County Executives Curran and Bellone for their efforts to root out intolerance and bigotry in our local communities. I will fight hate from my hometown to Washington DC,” said U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi.
“Today our community is not only speaking out against anti-Semitism, but we are taking real action to address these recent incidents head-on. I applaud County Executives Curran and Bellone for creating this task force, which will send a clear and strong message that anti-Semitism, bigotry and symbols of hate have absolutely no place on Long Island,” said U.S. Congresswoman Kathleen Rice.
“The recent hate graffiti found at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center is extremely disturbing and necessitates an island-wide effort to combat intolerance. I support County Executives Curran and Bellone in this initiative because educating our children on the repugnant meanings behind these symbols of hate and terror is essential to combating their spread,” said New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky.
“The recent despicable and cowardly acts of anti-Semitic, racist vandalism that have taken place in Nassau County are a wakeup call for all Long Islanders that we need to work together to forcefully eradicate the evils of anti-Semitism and hatred that continue to exist in our community. I look forward to working with the task force to send a strong message that we will not accept anti-Semitism and hatred in our communities in any form, and I applaud County Executive Curran and County Executive Bellone for leading this critical initiative,” said New York State Senator Anna Kaplan.
"These despicable incidents of vandalism are nothing more than acts of cowardice and ignorance. Anti-Semitism and blind hatred have no place in our society. The very soul of our democracy is steeped in diversity and freedom and we will not stand by and allow intolerance to foster fear in our neighborhoods. This is a hate crime pure and simple and as such will be met with justice, solidarity, and community," said New York State Senator John Brooks.
“Bigotry and anti-semitism have no place in Nassau County. We must continue to do everything we can to fight hate wherever it exists. Those responsible must be found and held accountable,” said Presiding Officer of the Nassau County Legislature Richard Nicolello.
"To create a fairer and more just society, we must forcefully confront anti-Semitism and hatred wherever and whenever we encounter it. Launching this Islandwide Task Force Against Anti-Semitism and Symbols of Hate sends a clear and powerful message that Long Islanders stand united in denouncing all forms of discrimination,” said Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams.
“These hateful, anti-Semitic incidents underscore the challenges facing religious communities across Long Island. Last week, leaders in the local Muslim community alerted me to Islamophobic hate mail that they received and later reported to the Nassau County Police Department. Amidst a national climate that encourages bigots to spread their hateful rhetoric, fair-minded people of all faiths must stand together to celebrate diversity and denounce hatred,” said Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages.
"When one community suffers because of bigotry, we are all negatively impacted. This disturbing string of anti-Semitic incidents demands a unified regional response so that Long Islanders of all faiths can live in peace," said Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé.
“At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, it is essential for Long Islanders of all religious and cultural backgrounds to stand together to denounce hatred and promote acceptance through advocacy and education. This comprehensive task force will ensure the necessary tools are in place to foster a climate in which bias and acts of hate are never accepted,” said Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum.
"Faced with these appalling anti-Semitic incidents, it’s time to stop wringing our hands and talking about coming together. Instead, we must take decisive action. Let’s commit today to making the Holocaust a mandatory curriculum subject in our schools and redoubling our efforts to educate our adults and children so that we may instill tolerance and love into the mosaic of our communities,” said Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker.
“On Long Island, we stand ready to deploy every necessary resource to defeat anti-Semitism through education and by bringing those who commit hateful acts to justice. My generation - the largest, most educated and most diverse in America - has a duty to unequivocally and categorically denounce hatred, especially when confronted with it in our backyard,” said Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan.
“Together, we can defeat hate and bigotry by speaking out, urging acceptance and providing a path forward as one united community. I thank both County Executives Bellone and Curran for forming this anti-semitism and symbols of hate task force to overcome hate in our society,” said Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
"I am proud to be joining together with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone as well as my fellow elected officials and community leaders as we take a stand against hate, racism and Anti-Semitism. North Hempstead has always supported our diversity and inclusion. Establishing this task force is important because it sends a message that all acts of hate and intolerance are unacceptable across Long Island," said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth
“There is absolutely no place in our society for anti-Semitism or prejudice in any form. Our communities are comprised of individuals from a myriad of countries, genders, religions, political parties and walks of life. It’s all part of the essential fabric that makes Nassau County an outstanding place to live. In Hempstead, I have directed the Commissioner of Public Safety to step up patrols in town parks, beaches and other facilities to be on the lookout for anti-Semitic graffiti in light of recent incidents. We have a zero tolerance policy for this type of hate-fueled activity and the town reports all such incidents to the proper authorities. Today, and tomorrow and everyday, we will stand here united to fight against every form of hatred and bigotry. I’m eager to participate in any task force that could help defeat hate in all forms,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor-elect Don Clavin.