‘Genocide supporters’: Graffiti against Israel scrawled on two stores in NY suburb

Jewish owner of Scarsdale ice cream and gift shop says he believes his business was targeted because of ‘We stand with Israel’ sign in the window

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Graffiti on the facade of the Scoop Shop, a Scarsdale ice cream and gift store, January 25, 2024. (Courtesy/Adam Deutsch via JTA)
Graffiti on the facade of the Scoop Shop, a Scarsdale ice cream and gift store, January 25, 2024. (Courtesy/Adam Deutsch via JTA)

New York Jewish News via JTA — Two stores in a shopping plaza in Scarsdale, north of New York City, were vandalized with anti-Israel graffiti on Wednesday evening.

The phrase “Genocide supporters” was scrawled in black paint across the front window of an ice cream and gift shop known as Scoop Shop, photos from the scene showed the store’s brightly colored pillows and stuffed animals visible in the store’s interior. A clothing store called Cheryl’s Closet in the same plaza, the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Mall, was vandalized with the same message.

Scoop shop owner Adam Deutsch, who is Jewish, said he believes the store was targeted due to a sign saying “We stand with Israel” that has been in the store’s window for a few months.

Some pro-Palestinian groups in New York City have urged followers to boycott businesses with ties to Israel but Deutsch said he had not heard that activists were targeting his store before the vandalism, which occurred overnight and was discovered Thursday morning.

“This was a shock to me when I woke up this morning,” he told the New York Jewish Week by phone.

He believes the shop was targeted due to the pro-Israel sign, not because of his Jewish identity. “What they wrote seemed like it was because of the sign, not because of me, but who knows,” he said.

Cheryl’s Closet, an upscale women’s boutique, is also believed to have Jewish owners, ABC 7 New York reports. When reached by the New York Jewish Week, an employee at the store said she could not comment on the incident.

The shopping mall is also home to a kosher supermarket, Seasons, which was not defaced.

There was no permanent damage to the stores and the graffiti has been removed. Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest and the Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah have visited the shopping plaza which is across the street from the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester.

A rally by local Israel supporters was held at the mall on Thursday.

Collins Coyne of the New Rochelle police department said detectives had visited the stores and were investigating. “No one was injured, there’s no damage but it’s obviously very hurtful to the community,” he said. The mall is located on the border of New Rochelle and Scarsdale and falls within the New Rochelle police department’s jurisdiction.

The area’s congressional representative, Jamaal Bowman, who has come under fire for criticism of Israel in recent months, condemned the incident, as did his challenger in next year’s primary, George Latimer. Latimer attended the rally on Thursday afternoon.

Antisemitism has spiked in New York City since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, according to NYPD data, although comparable, up-to-date data is not available for the rest of New York State. Jewish groups have reported a surge in antisemitism nationally and online since the terror attack, when Hamas killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 253 others hostage.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, citing the spike in hate since October 7, said in a Thursday statement that she was proposing $60 million in new funding for groups at risk of hate crimes, and adding dozens of new offenses that could qualify as hate crimes, including graffiti.

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