Over 2,500 attend march against anti-Semitism

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Over 2,500 Long Island residents attended Sunday's march against anti-Semitism. (Photo by Robert Pelaez)

More than 2,500 Long Island residents marched against anti-Semitism on Sunday in Mineola.

“We organized this march to send a clear message in one voice: Long Islanders of all faiths and backgrounds stand united with our Jewish community and against anti-Semitism,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “We are all together as human beings to say, there is no room for hate here on our beautiful island.”

Curran was one of more than 150 elected officials, interfaith leaders and community activists present at the march, which began at the intersection of County Seat Drive and 11th Street. Along with Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone helped organize the event. 

Thousands marched down County Seat Drive and ended up at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building on Franklin Avenue.

The event was one of the initial actions taken by the islandwide task force that was established in December as a result of anti-Semitic attacks against the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove.

Graffiti outside the center depicted one swastika spray-painted in red on a tree, and another on a rock accompanied by the name “Tommy.”

Two weeks later, 37-year-old Grafton Thomas allegedly stabbed and seriously injured five people during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, according to officials.

At the march, New York State Attorney General Leticia James said that hateful actions such as those do not belong in society and that they must be stopped, regardless of race or religion.

“It was Jewish storekeepers who allowed black people not to go to the back door, but through the front door, and it was the blood of Jewish people that died for my freedom and your freedom,” James said. “We stand together in love and recognizing that hate will not be tolerated in Long Island or anywhere in the states.”

James mentioned the importance of combating all forms of hatred across the county, state, and nation by joining forces and the need to put aside differences for the greater good.

“It’s critically important that we all understand that an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us,” James said. “I want to live in a world where we can respect one another. I want to live in a world where we can all understand love, and that love will triumph over hate. I want to live in a world where we don’t see our differences, and we celebrate our diversity.”

Representatives and members of 12 Chabad institutions, 12 churches, nine temples and seven synagogues attended the march along with thousands of other activists and Long Islanders. 

“It’s crucial that we all stand up to hate, no matter where it occurs,” Chabad of Mineola  Rabbi Perl Anchelle said. “Sending a united front against hate, we can send the message that anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate symbols of all kinds have no place in our community.”

Prominent officials such as U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Peter King (R-Seaford) attended the march.

The three were integral in drafting and sending a letter to national security officials asking them to investigate potential acts by foreign adversaries to cause civil unrest in the wake of recent anti-Semitic acts.

The letter cited a recent FBI study that found that hate crimes increased by 17 percent from 2016 to 2017.

According to the study, anti-Semitic crimes increased by 37 percent in 2017 and attacks motivated by racial or ethnic prejudice doubled.

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