Dear Delancey: That Swastika Tag is Not Welcome Here

Posted on: January 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am by
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An open letter from a reader…

Dear Lower East Side:

With Anti-Semitism on the rise internationally, and a staggering 39% rise in anti-Semitic crimes in New York City this past year, the swastika and accompanying graffiti on 101 Delancey Street is a shocking, though not entirely surprising revelation. At present, the vacant commercial space (formerly Happiness Deli) bares a swastika and reads “Holocaust 2015 Death To The Jews,” advocating venomous discrimination and hostility.

Anti-Semitic vandalism is insidious in its cowardice and disturbing in motivation. Yet it is a powerful tool; abstract hatred and intimidation tactics work; this article is anonymous for self-evident reason—I am Jewish. While wincing at this graffiti, which calls for a present-day Holocaust, this post calls for the resurfacing of the dialogue on tolerance and anti-Semitism in number, so perhaps we can find strength against intolerance, rather than in fear of it.

The Lower East Side boasts a sizable Jewish community, least of which include Holocaust survivors and children of Holocaust survivors. We are also a community of many faiths and backgrounds and it is this diversity that should be an asset, not our hindrance.

Hate crime is the causal directive of hate speech and it is my hope that our community can eradicate both. At the very least I hope this letter sparks a tolerant and productive conversation.

With heavy heart,

A Fellow Lower East Sider

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