Open Letter to the Bigot Who Posted this Shameless Sign in Newburgh
If you're the antisemite looking for your handwritten poster in Newburgh, NY, check the trash can. While you may have spent a good amount of time finding a poster board large enough to fit all of your dangerous conspiracy theories, as well as a staple gun to place it in such a public area, it's headed to the landfill.
In what is far from an isolated incident, extremist views that too often encourage misinformation, hate, and in many cases, violence, have once again reared their ugly head in Newburgh, NY.
Antisimetic Sign in the City of Newburgh, NY
What started off as a beautiful walk around Downing Park in the city of Newburgh, NY took a dark turn near a telephone pole on 3rd street. "Jews have a history of false flag terror attacks", the handwritten poster that was stapled to the pole began. It proceeded to blame the religion for a litany of terror attacks, including September 11th.
Freedom of Speech vs. Hate Speech
Free speech is no longer protected when the speech is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action", and with antisemitic incidents (many of them violent) continuing to increase across the globe, signs like the one in Newburgh, NY only add fuel to the fire.
Antisemitism in New York State
Antisemitism, misinformation, and the general attitude that marginalized communities are somehow evil, violent, or "anti-American" are all shameful beliefs unfortunately held by a growing number of people, many clearly here in the Hudson Valley. No matter how far down the conspiracy rabbit hole they go, however, this fact remains true: innocent people pay the price for their ignorance.
The Ripple Effect of Ignorant Beliefs
The idea that a Jewish child in Orange County, NY may be confronted by someone who read the sign (which has been censored for numerous reasons, including to halt the spread of misinformation), is abhorrent. This incident also comes just months after someone with white supremacist beliefs left stickers with links to hateful websites on local cars in New Paltz, NY.
White Supremacist Literature in New Paltz, NY
The stickers, which were firmly affixed to the windshield of many cars in New Paltz, NY, had a QR code that led to a nearly 30-minute video attempting to "prove" that white Americans are under attack from minority populations. Other videos hosted on the site included "Why and How Women Destroy Civilizations" and "The War on Men".
There are, of course, many glimmers of hope in the Hudson Valley as well. Local groups like the Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley are working hard to protect asylum-seekers and other immigrants who fled their countries to find safety in America, and the Hudson Valley chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has tackled many issues in our area ranging from workers' rights to freedom of speech an religion. See more inspiring acts from across New York state below.