NYPD Probes Antisemitic Vandalism at Homes of Brooklyn Museum Director, Board Members

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 12, 2024New York
NYPD Probes Antisemitic Vandalism at Homes of Brooklyn Museum Director, Board Members
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest outside the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York on May 31, 2024. (Leonardo Munoz/AFP via Getty Images)

Police are investigating reports of antisemitic vandalism at several homes of Jewish New Yorkers on Tuesday night.

The homes of Brooklyn Museum board members and its director, Anne Pasternak, were targeted, according to officials.

Images circulated on social media show Ms. Pasternak’s Brooklyn Heights apartment building splattered with red graffiti. Vandals also draped a large sign in front of the home marked with red handprints that read “Anne Pasternak Brooklyn Museum White Supremacist Zionist.” The main door and several windows were defaced with red inverted triangles, a symbol that Hamas terrorists use to identify its military targets.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams shared images of the vandalism on social media platform X on Wednesday.

“This is not a peaceful protest or free speech. This is a crime, and it’s overt, unacceptable antisemitism,” the mayor wrote in a post on X.

“These actions will never be tolerated in New York City for any reason. I’m sorry to Anne Pasternak and members of @brooklynmuseum’s board who woke up to hatred like this,” the mayor added.

The mayor said he spoke with Ms. Pasternak about the incident and pledged to bring the criminals to justice.

“This is an abhorrent act of antisemitism and it has no place in New York or anywhere else,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

“We stand with the Jewish community in the face of hate and will continue to fight antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head,” the governor said.

It isn’t immediately clear who is responsible for the vandalism.

The incident comes just weeks after a large group of anti-Israel protesters broke into the Brooklyn Museum and committed similar acts of vandalism. A flyer that was widely shared on social media invited demonstrators to “flood the Brooklyn Museum” and called for an end to the “U.S.-Israeli genocide.” Protestors clashed with police, and several activists were arrested.

“The cowards who did this are way over the line into antisemitism, harming the cause they claim to care about, and making everyone less safe, City Comptroller Brad Lander wrote in a post on X.

The art institution, which faces calls to sever its corporate partnerships and financial ties to Israel, said that it would not press charges against the activists, rather promised to work with local law enforcement to focus on de-escalation following the incident.

“Vandalizing the homes of museum officials and Jewish individuals is reprehensible and antisemitic. We can’t allow hatred to divide us and stifle the cause for unity,” New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in a post on X.

Demonstrators recently set up encampments and vandalized college campuses nationwide amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, disrupting students’ final exams and prompting the cancellation of graduation ceremonies.

The Jewish community in the U.S. last year experienced an unprecedented increase in antisemitic incidents nationwide, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Antisemitic incidents soared 140 percent in 2023, recent ADL data shows.

Antisemitic incidents in New York alone jumped 110 percent last year, marking a new record. More than 60 percent of those incidents happened in New York City, according to the ADL.