Mayor issues statement on recent hate crimes

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller released a statement Monday denouncing recent acts of hate in Newton.

Last week, Newton police received a report of a rock thrown through the window of a home displaying a sign supporting Israel.

On Sunday morning, a display in front of a home on Homer Street honoring the Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack was found torn and spray-painted black.

Last week, police received a report of a rock thrown through a window.

“In recent days we have seen two disturbing acts of vandalism in Newton targeting homes displaying support for hostages and Israel which has led Jewish neighbors to feel both upset and afraid,” Fuller’s statement begins. “Both the Newton Police and I take all hate incidents and hate crimes seriously.”

Fuller said police are investigating the crimes and that anyone with information should call the Police Department.

“We gain strength and comfort by standing together, listening to each other, and connecting as a community of allies,” Fuller’s statement continueds. “Antisemitic and hate incidents are on the rise. Across the country these incidents and crimes are targeting Jews, Palestinians, Muslims, Blacks, Asians, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community and more. We as a community must stand together to condemn antisemitism and acts of hate and violence against anyone.”

Hate crimes against Jewish people and organizations have risen in the months since the Oct. 7 attack—in which Hamas terrorists breached the wall between Gaza and Israel and tortured and murdered scores of Israeli civilians—and subsequent Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Newton’s population is very diverse, with large groups of minorities and immigrants, and more than a quarter of Newton’s population is Jewish, according to census data.

“Our only way forward is to respect the rights, dignity and differences of others,” Fuller’s statement concludes. “We cannot let hate divide us. I will continue to speak out against antisemitism, hate, violence and terrorism. In this world filled with pain and differences, my goal is to have Newtonians look out for one another with respect and kindness.”

On Monday night, the Newton Police Department posted an update on Facebook reporting that several other incidents of hateful vandalism have been reported in Newton recently, including the following:

  • On Feb. 22, a “We Stand with Israel” sign was stolen from a front porch on Columbus Street.
  • On Feb. 29, a “We Stand with Israel” sign was defaced with red paint on Beacon Street.
  • On March 6, the same home on Beacon Street reported their “We Stand with Israel” sign was defaced with a sticker reading “Bombing kids is not self defense.”
  • On March 7, another “We Stand with Israel” sign was on Beacon Street was defaced with a “Bombing kids is not self defense” sticker.
  • Also on March 7, another sign was defaced with a sticker. Police did not list what street that incident was on.

“We will be adding extra patrols and are asking our community to remain vigilant,” the Facebook update reads.