By Jennifer L Warren
NEWBURGH – Last Thursday morning three disturbing images of hate were located in the City of Newburgh.
Between the Hudson Valley Press newspaper office and McDonald’s on upper Broadway in the City of Newburgh, there lies a vacant lot. Here, etched into a stone wall that occupies the vacated lot was a Swastika image, a symbol used to promote Anti-semitism or intense dislike for and prejudice against Jewish people and widely associated with the Nazi Party as well as neo-Nazis.
Spotted Thursday morning, right before a busy summer weekend in Newburgh, including many events such as the Italian Festival as well as coming during the wake of recent violence, the upsetting symbols, carrying intense negative connotative meanings- chiefly hatred- created cause for concern. A need to respond in a timely manner, revealing the gravity of this action, was also expressed by several who learned of the markings.
“All leaders in our community have a responsibility to teach about the expression of hate; there has been too much of it lately,” said Rabbi Douglas Kohan of Temple Beth Jacob in Newburgh as well as Co-Chairperson of Community Relations for the Jewish Federation of Orange County. “There are many messages here; one is that it’s not tolerated, Newburgh should be a community of embracing diversity, and there is no place for those who vilify and ostracize others.” Kohan added, “Especially so, we have refugees here in Newburgh, and we still recognize the Lady in the Harbor, and do not give license to racial superiority.”
From information gathered, the swastika is not the only message containing messages of hatred on this particular wall, compounding its intensity. When alerted of this latest visible addition, Assemlyperson, Jonathan Jacobson, was quick to deliver words directed at its complete inexcusability.
“I condemn this act in the strongest possible way,” affirmed Jacobson, who represents the City of Newburgh District. “There is no excuse for acts of Anti-semitism, racism or any other act of hatred toward any group in society.”
The City of Newburgh Police Department was contacted several times for a police report that was made, detailing the incident; however, up until press time, phone calls were not returned.
Additionally, calls made to the Newburgh City Manager for a comment were met with the same result.
“Prejudice, including antisemitism, cannot and will not be tolerated in Orange County. Hate crimes are offensive on every level and hurt the entire community. There is no place for this behavior in our society,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus
Anyone with information about this, or any other hate crime, is encouraged to reach out to law enforcement.