Area leaders spoke out after a swastika was found at the Rego Park Jewish Center Wednesday.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) released a joint statement Thursday.
“There is absolutely no room for this kind of hatred in our community,” they said. “We have consulted with the NYPD, and are confident that the perpetrator behind this cowardly offense will be found, and will face justice.”
Capt. Joseph Cappelmann, the commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, said he received a call at 4 p.m. Wednesday that the swastika had been drawn outside the center at 97-30 Queens Blvd.
Speaking during Wednesday’s virtual community council meeting, Cappelmann called it “just an absolutely disgusting and cowardly act. There’s no place for that in our society.” He added that it is “sad to see this type of hate.”
Cappelmann said the Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating and he is confident police will locate the person responsible.
City Council candidate Avi Cyperstein and volunteers of Queens Borough Safety Patrol Shmira helped clean the graffiti.
“Nobody should have to experience or witness vile anti-Semitic marks anywhere in the world, especially in the most diverse borough of New York City: Queens,” Cyperstein said in a statement.
Borough President Donovan Richards called recent bias incidents, in particular recent ones targeting Asians and Jews, reprehensible.
“Queens residents should also be vigilant in reporting and speaking out against such acts of hatred and in showing support for our neighbors when they are attacked,” he said in a statement Thursday. “None of us should ever be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome in our own community.”
The swastika marked the latest anti-Semitic graffiti seen in the area.
In February 2019, swastikas and the term “Heil Hitler” were found drawn on the playground at PS 139.
Last July, a car’s tires were punctured and the hood of a vehicle was defaced with the carving of a swastika at 102nd Street and 64th Road in Forest Hills.
A Forest Hills fence was spray-painted with a vulgar statement aimed at Jewish women last December, with five panels of a white fence near the Grand Central Service road and 68th Drive tagged.
“The neighborhood has been scarred by hate before and this pattern must end immediately,” Cyperstein said.