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‘Abhorrent’: NY officials deplore attacks on homes of Brooklyn Museum director, board members

The attacks come on the heels of a protest against a Manhattan exhibit on the Nova Music Festival attack

New York City Mayor Eric Adams promised to bring to justice what he described as the “criminals” responsible for defacing the home of the Brooklyn Museum director, who is Jewish, and members of the museum board, calling the anti-Zionist graffiti “overt, unacceptable antisemitism” on the social platform X (formerly Twitter).

Vandals spattered the facades of board members’ homes — and the Brooklyn Heights home of museum director Anne Pasternak — with fake blood and inverted red triangles, a symbol Hamas uses to identify targets for violence.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul deplored what she called “an abhorrent act of antisemitism, and it has no place in New York or anywhere else,” and promised to “continue to fight antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, on the floor of the Senate Wednesday, said the pictures of the vandalism made him “sick to his stomach.”

Every single American needs to see this,” he said. “This is the face of hatred. Jewish Americans made to feel unsafe in their own home — just because they are Jewish.”

Police say they are investigating the incidents and examining surveillance footage of the homes targeted in the attack, The New York Times reported. In a statement from the apparent perpetrators of the vandalism, they describe it as retaliation for the museum’s actions to break up a May 31 protest. The statement goes on to say: “The Brooklyn Museum is an institution tainted with the blood of our martyrs.” 

The vandalism comes on the heels of a protest outside an exhibit in Manhattan honoring the victims of the Nova Music Festival, which Hamas attacked on Oct. 7, killing hundreds of young attendees. That protest also drew condemnation from local and national politicians. And it follows an attack on the law firm of a Jewish regent of the University of Michigan earlier this month, which local police are calling a hate crime.

The Brooklyn Museum itself has been the site of numerous protests since Oct. 7 during which demonstrators have claimed — falsely according to museum officials — that its trustees are connected to Israel’s military. Similar accusations have been leveled by protesters against the trustees of other art museums across the country, including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The Oct. 7 massacre at the festival and other locations in Southern Israel prompted Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, which health officials there say has resulted in the deaths of more than 35,000 Palestinians. 

Protests against the war have roiled college campuses and cities, including about 1,000 demonstrations in New York City, according to police. And while Jews have been part of the protests, some demonstrations have crossed the line into antisemitism, with protesters shouting “Go back to Poland.”

Responding to charges of antisemitism, protesters often say they revile antisemitism, but want to stamp out Zionism, a stance many Jews, the Anti-Defamation League and others consider antisemitic.

A banner strung across Pasternak’s home read: “White Supremacist Zionist.” 

Condemning the attack on the Brooklyn Museum leaders, City Comptroller Brad Lander said on X that “while no one deserves this, worth noting that few museums have done more to grapple with hard questions of power, colonialism, racism, and the role of art.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the religion of the Brooklyn Museum board members. They are not Jewish.

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