Vandals splash graffiti on homes of Jewish leaders at Brooklyn Museum

The homes of the Jewish director and trustees of the Brooklyn Museum were vandalized early Wednesday morning in a coordinated attack, according to a museum spokesperson.

Vandals attacked the Brooklyn Heights home of museum director Anne Pasternak, spraying red paint and graffiti on the entrance to her building and hanging a banner accusing her of being a “Zionist supremacist white “.

The homes of two Jewish trustees and the museum’s president and chief operating officer, Kimberly Panicek Trueblood, whose husband is Jewish, were also targeted, according to Taylor Maatman, the museum’s director of public relations and communications.

Mayor Eric Adams said in a post on social media that the police department “will bring the criminals responsible here to justice.”

“This is not a peaceful protest or free speech,” Mr. Adams said. “It’s a crime, and it’s excessive and unacceptable anti-Semitism.”

A police spokesperson said officers were investigating. Outside the home of one of the victims, police went door to door trying to obtain footage of the attack and speak to neighbors.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Brooklyn Democrat, said the vandalism left him “sick to his stomach.”

“It’s despicable. It’s disgusting. This is un-American and, unfortunately, this kind of evil is something that every Jew on Earth can recognize in an instant,” he said.

The Brooklyn Museum has enjoyed successful relationships with some community organizers, who have held neighborhood-wide protests during Ms. Pasternak’s tenure. During the war between Israel and Hamas, the institution’s premises became a gathering place for pro-Palestinian activists who claim there is a link between wealthy administrators and the military-industrial complex in Israel – an accusation which museum officials denied.

Last week, police arrested dozens of activists outside the museum, including a leader of the pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetime, after a protest in which some people invaded the museum. In a subsequent statement, the organization condemned the museum and said it would hold its leaders “fully responsible for the violence perpetrated against protesters inside and outside the museum, the majority of whom were youth and young people black and brown women.”

In a telephone interview, Ms. Pasternak said she was “disgusted and shaken” by the vandalism of her home.

“For two centuries, the Brooklyn Museum has worked to foster mutual understanding through art and culture, and we have always supported peaceful protests and open, respectful dialogue,” she said in a statement. ulterior. “Violence, vandalism and intimidation have no place in this discourse.”

The museum has a history of engagement in social issues and backlash. In 1999, then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani attempted to evict the museum after an exhibit that included a painting of the Virgin Mary made with collages of pornography and elephant feces. More recent programs have focused on issues of social justice, diversity and representation.

Wednesday’s attacks did not occur in isolation.

On Monday evening, hundreds of people demonstrated against Israel outside an exhibit in Lower Manhattan that commemorates the at least 360 people killed in the Hamas-led attack in October 2017. 7 at a rave in southern Manhattan Israel. Last month, a man was charged with assault after arguing with pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrating outside a Columbia University administrator’s home on the Upper East Side and then hitting one with his car.

The number of hate crimes recorded in the city in October, when the war between Israel and Hamas began, was more than double that of the previous October.

Since the start of the year, hate crimes – particularly against Jews and Muslims – are high compared to the same period last year. In early June, 173 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to police, compared to 101 during the same period last year. Reports of hate crimes against Muslims increased from five to 16 during the same period.

The attack on Ms. Pasternak’s house was recorded by security cameras. It was around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when five vandals, masked and dressed in black, entered the courtyard of his six-story brick building. During a 90-second attack, they smeared and splashed the front door, walls, entrance columns and courtyard with pinkish-red paint and stenciled slogans on the sidewalk.

Lynne Spitzer, a resident, came out and noticed the vandalism around 6:30 a.m.

“I was devastated,” Ms. Spitzer, 74, said. “It’s scandalous what happened.”

Throughout the morning, passersby stopped, stared, and shook their heads. A man cried.

In the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Ms. True Bloods live, neighbors were also upset.

At around 1 p.m., the building was still covered in red spray paint with a stenciled message with Ms. Trueblood’s name and the words “blood on your hands.” A man was inside cleaning paint from the second story windows.

Kate Davis, who lives in an adjacent building, said she was “deeply shaken” by what happened and called it a “blatant act of terrorism.”

As she spoke, Mrs. Davis peered through her doorway to observe the paint-covered building and the light splatter that had reached her own front steps.

Maria Cramer And Shayla Colon reports contributed.

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