‘Turning On One Another Is Not The Answer’
PRESS RELEASE– Legislator Lon M. Hofstein is strongly condemning an alarming uptick in the number of acts of hate occurring in Rockland and across the nation.
“These attacks are completely unacceptable and I condemn each one of them,” Hofstein said. “No person should have to live in fear that they will be the focus of an attack because of their race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. We must work together and look out for one another.”
Hofstein (R-New City) said he was moved to publicly call out these hate attacks and suspected hate attacks because they are increasing at an alarming rate. Across the nation, 1,372 bias incidents were reported between Nov. 9 and Feb. 7, according to statistics provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and crimes. The organization regularly updates the information.
On Tuesday, the FBI said it is now investigating the possibility of a hate crime after a white man yelled ethnic slurs and shot two men of Indian descent in Kansas. One victim died. Some other recent hate incidents include the toppling of headstones at Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Jewish Community Centers, also known as JCCs, have received dozens of bomb threats in recent weeks. On Monday, the first such threats were made to JCCs in the Lower Hudson Valley – in Tarrytown and New Rochelle in neighboring Westchester County. The FBI said they believe the JCC threats may be the work of one “nut.”
Rockland County has not been immune to anti-semitic incidents. On Feb. 21, swastikas were found spray-painted on a fence on the border of the village of New Square, which is home to religious Jews. On Feb. 6, the public was made aware of swastikas and anti-Sematic language spray-painted on numerous trees in the woods near a planned housing development in New City.
On Nov. 14, the words “No Jews” were spray-painted on the road in front of two homes for sale on a quiet street off Concklin Road in Ramapo, as well as a “for sale” sign. On Aug. 9, incendiary devices were set off outside two homes belonging to rabbis in New City, both near the Chabad Lubavitch of Rockland on North Main Street.
“While we live in uncertain times, turning on one another is not the answer,” Hofstein said. “We must unite against senseless acts of violence and be clear this will not be accepted nor tolerated.
“The Holocaust should be a reminder to all of the hurt and destruction that hateful behavior brings out in people,” Hofstein said. “Energy should be used to help people to learn to accept our diversified cultures and build a better county for all our citizens.”
Hofstein said he will ask his colleagues on the 17-member Legislature to support a resolution condemning acts of hate. Hofstein also urges all members of the public to report bias incidents to law enforcement.