NORWOOD, the Bronx (PIX11) — “Free Palestine” was spray-painted on the front of a Jewish cultural center in the Bronx on Halloween, police said Thursday.
The black and purple graffiti was found at the Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center at 3301 Bainbridge Ave. in Norwood at around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to the NYPD. A photo from the scene showed the words “Free Palestine” scribbled multiple times on the left side of the white building, which was cordoned off with yellow police tape.
There have been no arrests. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.
Bronx Congressman Ritchie Torres condemned the vandalism in a social media post, saying it was antisemitic.
“Vandalizing the Shorenstein Aleichem Cultural Center in the Bronx with the words ‘Free Palestine’ is not only Anti-Zionist, it’s antisemitic,” he said.
The incident comes on the heels of a 7% spike in hate crimes in New York City since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7. — with the majority being a spike in antisemitic activity, according to the NYPD.
“Hate has no place in our city, and we all have an awesome responsibility to lift up our city during this extremely challenging, challenging time,” Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday.
Since the war started, more Israelis and Palestinians have been killed than in any of the four previous wars dating to late 2008. More than 10,590 people have died and over 1.4 million displaced in Gaza and 134 have died in the West Bank, as of Thursday.
More than 1,400 have died in Israel. Israeli officials said at least 240 people taken from Israel are being held captive in Gaza.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.