Hate Comes to Brooklyn Heights

In the shadow of yesterday's speech at Columbia University by Iranian President/Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hate also made an appearance in Brooklyn Heights. Swastikas and anti-Semitic phrases were spray painted on synagogues and buildings across the neighborhood: 

WABC-TV: Swastikas Found…: Police say the swastikas were found on the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue at 131 Remsen Street and the Chabad of Brooklyn Heights at 117 Remsen Street. The scrawlings were discovered just after 9 p.m. last night.

Also, the foyer of a four-story apartment building at 45 Columbia Place, about a half mile away, was defaced with a four-foot swastika under which was scrawled the message, "Kill Jews."

While two other buildings and two cars were spray-painted on the two blocks.

A large number of police descended on the area and searched for evidence. No arrests were immediately made.

Kevin Carberry, a real estate agent who found a swastika on his building on Columbia Place, said the vandalism didn't make sense.

"It's irrational and it's sad, but I don't think it has anything to do with me. I'm Irish. I've lived here all my life and I've never seen anything like this," he said.

The New York Daily News reports that some residents believe the vandalism was the work of misguided youths:

Kevin Carberry, a sixtysomething real estate agent who found a swastika on his building on Columbia Place, said the vandalism didn't make sense.

"It's irrational and it's sad, but I don't think it has anything to do with me. I'm Irish. I've lived here all my life and I've never seen anything like this," he said.

Carberry and other victims suspected the vandals were teens out to cause trouble rather than true hatemongers.

"As for my place, I think I was just next in line," he said.

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  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    My wife called me on her cell phone at about 8:45 as she was walking to the subway and told me there was police activity around Hicks and Remsen. I went down with my camera, and found lots of uniformed police and crime scene tape around a white car parked in front of Seaport Flowers. There was no apparent reason for the tape, as the car was undamaged. Turning the corner onto Remsen, I found tape around a minivan. this time, the reason was apparent – a placard emblazoned with a swastika and the words “Kill all Jews” and “Israel, land of pigs” had been placed under a wiper blade. Further down the block was an SUV also taped and also with a similar placard.

    I shot a photo of the placard on the minivan, then turned to walk home and saw qfwfg and friend walking south on Hicks. I told them about the placards, and we all expressed amazement and horror.

    It brings to mind the title of a Sinclair Lewis novel: It Can’t Happen Here.

  • spm

    I was out even earlier – 6:15 am walking the dog – and noticed as I was heading up the short incline from Remsen Street to the Promenade that some of the octagonal tile has been blown away – sort of like someone had lit it on fire and then taken a hammer to it. I didn’t make any connection until I turned on the TV and NBC-4 had a bulletin on the Remsen Street incident. I called 311 who then put me through to Precinct 84. The officer who answered asked if I would do him a favor and walk over to Remsen and let a police officer know about this. So about 7:30 I walked to Remsen, spoke to an officer who had seen it already but who thanked me. I did notice there were many flyers they were pulling up from cars that were anti-semitic and anti-Israel in nature. Initially, I thought it was some kids doing it, which is bad enough, but with the placard and the flyers, I just don’t know. I do know that about six months ago there were flyers taped all over Montague Street which were virulently anti-homosexual. I tore many of them down around 7 am – at least from Montague Terrace to Clinton Street on Montague Street – did anyone else see those? Could it be the same hate group? It just seems too coincidental to have the Iranian President speaking here in NY and then this incident.

  • http://www.adl.org/ nicky

    To Kevin Carberry:

    Hate has to do with everybody. It doesn\’t matter if you are Jewish or not.

  • GHB

    “Carberry and other victims suspected the vandals were teens out to cause trouble rather than true hatemongers.”
    Teens causing trouble? You’ve got to be kidding! Of course these are virulent hate mongerers, and they probably learned it at home!

  • nancy

    What a stupid comment:’ It doesn’t have anything to do with me”. Bigotry and hatred affects everyone. And when are people going to stop giving a pass to anti-semitic crimes by claiming “Misguided Youth?” They are not misguided, they know exactly what they are doing and why. Ignorance and stupidity, yes.
    This is just as bad as any type of racial bias or hate crime made against a person because of their skin color or their sexual orientation.
    I hope that the police take this seriously. I am sure it was done because of the Jewish holidays and the Iranian president’s speechs

  • http://semily.blogspot.com Sarah

    Dear Mr. Carberry,

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    Think before you open your mouth. It affects you.

  • Rakelle

    I am glad that others have pointed out the obvious problem with Mr. Carberry’s flip statement. Hate affects everyone in the community. No matter what group is singled out, it is unnacceptable.

  • ABC

    Wasn’t he talking about why they picked his door out of all the doors?

    I don’t think he was saying it didn’t affect him. It did, clearly. It was his door! I think he was saying he didn’t think he was being specifically targeted.

  • Heights97

    I think ABC is right. Carberry could have chosen his words more carefully, but let’s give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

  • beach lady

    I would like to insert proper credit for “Sarah’s contribution,” as Reverend Martin Niemoeller is responsible for her comment.

  • Focus Please…

    … on the criminals! And give Mr. Carberry a break… ABC is right… all Carberry said was that he doubted that he was specifically targeted (because he’s not Jewish)… and the vandals probably chose his building randomly. He never said he didn’t care or was not affected…

    Yes, I agree that these crimes are extremely serious, and should not be downplayed as acts of some mischevious teens rather than true hatemongers, potentially capable of much worse. And if it were a police spokesperson, community leader, or city official downplaying the incident… Yes, we should be pissed and speak out very loudly! But a guy from the neighborhood whose home just got vandalized, and who probably hasn’t been informed of all the facts, doesn’t deserve that kind of tongue-lashing. His reaction the morning after is totally human and totally understandable… he wants to believe in the most benign explanation. That was my initial reaction too… but pretty quickly I realized that there is no benign explanation. This type of hatred, manifested in an overt, coordinated, & preplanned act, is truly scary.

  • Go Team Us!

    I’d be interested to find out if these crimes were particularly aimed at specific people or random. Did these “kids” do their research? A simple investigation into this would shed some light as to the nature and motive of the crime.

    The inside of my building was vandalized also. Like a lot of people in the area I live in a building with several apartments and find it odd that my building was the only “hit” on the street. Anyone else here have a personal story?

  • Mike

    Kevin is not in his sixties. He just looks like that. And, he’s not a bad guy. Stop the Irish bashing!

  • Robert O’Booey


  • Phil Mahnken

    Re swastika vandalism: I channeled Sherlock Holmes after the event(s) and he suggested that we look into the possibility that agents provocateurs were the perps. Evidently detectives think from the detective’s box.

  • http://www.semilyo.blogspot.com sarah

    thank you beach lady! that was indeed not my own quote. thanks! :)