Rockville Center and Town of Hempstead elected officials are calling for a formal investigation into what they described as anti-Semitic leaflets left on the doorsteps of families living in Rockville Centre.
Supervisor Don Clavin, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and Mayor Francis Murray were also joined by Jewish leaders at a new conference Friday morning to reaffirm their commitment to protecting the Jewish community, as well as Hempstead’s zero policy. for hate in any form.
“There’s everything in this village for anyone who lives here and anyone who wants to come and visit,” Murray said. “But today I’m here to say that hate has no place in Rockville Center. The Board of Directors and I, along with our residents, are furious and discouraged to see hate propaganda being distributed in our village.
The fliers — which were also flagged in Oceanside earlier this week, according to published reports — claimed the Biden administration was controlled by a “Jewish cabal.”
Clavin decried people waking up to find the flyers on their doorsteps “with clearly anti-Semitic messages on them.”
“It’s unacceptable,” he said. “We are united in our outrage. We are united in our disgust at the cowardly acts of the individuals who placed flyers on the doors in the middle of (the) night, and we are not going to tolerate it.
“Every resident should know that we are united. Let’s hold these people accountable. Let’s send the message that we are not going to tolerate it in our beautiful communities. »
D’Esposito, who is also a candidate for Congress, called out hate in all its forms.
“It’s not just about acts of anti-Semitism and hatred against the Jewish community,” he said. “We must speak out against hatred against everyone. Whether it’s racial, religious, political, it doesn’t matter. The world we live in deserves peace.
Rabbi David Lerner of Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David believes such flyers are becoming a “growing trend across our country.”
“Hate is spreading,” he said. “We have to stop here. We have to nip it in the bud. It cannot spread. It’s love versus hate. Let’s all stand with love. Let’s all be united and don’t let this hatred spread.
Rabbi Michael Cohen of Central Synagogue-Beth Emeth called the flyers “disgusting thinly veiled pieces (that) can divide our community.”
“It’s a community of trust and love,” Cohen added. “Not only does hate have no place here, but we have refused to give it a place.”
There’s a chance those who distributed the flyers could face criminal charges, Clavin said, and the investigation is ongoing. The potential charges could range from a hate crime to aggravated harassment, though it’s unclear how First Amendment rights played into what was shared.
Other elected officials joined the chorus of condemnation throughout the day on Friday as news of the leaflets circulated.
“Under no circumstances can we remain silent in the face of the vile filth spread by extremist groups who seek to poison our community with their repugnant rhetoric,” Senator Anna Kaplan said in a statement. “The anti-Semitic litter strewn around Rockville Center and Oceanside this week is just the latest in a long line of recent incidents affecting our community that are driven by anti-Semitism and hate, and we all need to come together and send a strong message that we will never accept these groups or their shameful, un-American beliefs into our community.
Governor Kathy Hochul also weighed in, tweeting Friday that she was disgusted by the flyers.
“These offensive tropes and despicable conspiracy theories have no place in our state,” Hochul said. “We stand with our Jewish neighbors and continue our fight to eradicate anti-Semitism wherever it turns its head.”