Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Search
Close this search box.

New York Jewish Restaurant Vandalized with Antisemitic Messages

A popular Israeli eatery on the Upper West Side was vandalized with spray-painted blood-red and black messages reading, “Free Gaza” and “Form line here to support genocide” — and the NYPD is now probing the incident as a possible hate crime.

The vandalism targeted Effy’s Café, an American-Israeli breakfast mainstay at 104 W. 96th St. and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan for more than a decade.

“It’s terrifying. It’s my first time seeing this. I have no words,”​ said Effy’s manager Ben Zara to The Post ​on Monday afternoon. 

“I know America is crazy​, but then it was my first time seeing and witnessing right in front of my face a vandalism attack to our business​,” said Zara, who has worked at the establishment for eight years and is from the Philippines.​ “I just don’t know what will happen tomorrow​.”

“Free Gaza” was splashed across the front of the kosher bistro in red and again in green paint on the sidewalk in front of it Saturday, while “Form a line here to support genocide” was written in black on the concrete outside, too.

Police told The Post that the incident is under investigation by the department’s Hate Crime Task Force.

It ​has taken about seven people to scrub most of the graffiti off so far​, as the surrounding community quickly rallied around the café.

The eatery’s soup of the day, lentil, sold out within a few hours Monday, ​noted Jewish Community Relations Council of New York CEO Mark Treyger.

“So the graffiti is gone​, but the love for Effy’s is here to stay,” said Treyger, who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans.

He told The Post ​that when he first heard about the vandalism, he thought about what Jews in Europe faced in the 1930s and 1940s.

“These were stories that we thought we could just study about and make sure it never happens again,” he said, adding he hopes whoever carried out the sickening act is arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Upper West Side state Assembly candidate Micah Lasher visited Effy’s on Monday for brunch in a show of support for the restaurant, while locals stepped in to help scrub the graffiti from the sidewalk.

“We came to show solidarity and support. To call this incident what it was — anti-Semitic hate. To demand that Albany expand the hate crimes law. And to make clear that New York will never be a place where this is tolerated, condoned, or chalked up to reasonable political discourse,” Lasher wrote on X.

Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer also called attention to the incident on social media, telling followers that if they see a hate crime to contact the NYPD and her office.

Brewer also shared images of another disturbing case of vandalism found Saturday less than a mile away from Effy’s Café, at West 105th Street and Riverside Drive off Riverside Park.

Photos show large concrete blocks used to control traffic near the park covered with messages in red and black spray paint that included, “Israel bombs kids,” “Israel is ethnic cleansing,” “F–k Israel” and “Israelism is terrorism.”

Hindy Poupko of the UJA Federation of New York said antisemitism in the area has “never been quite like this in terms of its frequency and persistence.”

“Since Oct​. 7​, there have been 326 cases of antisemitic vandalism and 39 cases of anti-Jewish assaults. So we are facing an avalanche of hate,” Poupko told The Post​, referring to the day Palestinian Hamas terrorists slaughtered more than 1,200 people in Israel, sparking a war that has killed tens of thousands since.

“But we will continue to respond to this hate by doubling down on who we are and continuing to walk the streets as proud Jewish New Yorkers and we are gratified that New Yorkers of all backgrounds are standing with us​,” Poupko said.

Effy’s also has a location on the Upper East Side.

The cafe did not return The Post’s request for comment Monday.

https://nypost.com/2024/03/18/us-news/israeli-restaurant-effys-cafe-vandalized/