Newton homeowners hoping to fight hate with humanity after display of Israeli hostages defaced

NEWTON, Mass. — Newton police are investigating a hate crime and searching for the person responsible for defacing dozens of pictures showing Israeli hostages. A homeowner created the display in his front yard which spans more than 100 feet.

Even the mayor and a city councilor stopped by Homer Street yesterday to see the vandalism for themselves. Just about every picture is either covered in black spray paint or it’s ripped off. The homeowner says this act of hate has no place here.

“This took a long time, this took a lot of hate,” said Miriam Kosowsky of Newton.

Pictures of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas were either defaced or torn down from a more than 100-foot-long display in front of the Kosowsky’s home in Newton.

“I hope this is not a sign of what’s coming in a community like this where all kinds of people live in this community, Muslim, Jew, all nationalities live here in peace and to be desecrated like this is unacceptable,” said Benny Shamash of Newton.

Shortly after the October 7th attack, Jeff Kosowsky put up the pictures along his front yard. He says he’s only received positive feedback from neighbors. Now he’s hoping to fight hate with humanity.

“What we’re asking is that anybody has hostage posters, put them up they tried to silence these people they tried to take away their faces their identities,” said Miriam Kosowsky of Newton.

The Kosowkys notified the police and the FBI. While the investigation into the alleged hate crime continues, the Kosowsky’s say they are going to leave up the vandalized posters.

“At the moment we think it’s really important as a lesson there are so many people spewing words of hate,” said Miriam Kosowsky.

“There has to be set an example this can’t go on in our communities and I think the attention is helpful and realize that people are good and just don’t want this in their community,” said Jeff Kosowsky.

Neighbors are disgusted, but they aren’t letting one bad act define their community.

“It’s pointless,” said Barbara Swartz of Newton. “It doesn’t do anything that doesn’t accomplish anything.”

The Kosowskys home address sign was spray painted as well. They tell Boston 25 News they’ve already received new signs to put out--and they eventually will. But they are hoping whoever did this will be caught.

In a statement, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller calls the vandalism “disturbing,” saying in part:

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.

Both the Newton Police and I take all hate incidents and hate crimes seriously. Newton Police are continuing their investigation of the premeditated destruction of posters and graffiti on private property in front of a home along Homer Street. Posters depicting photographs of hostages held by Hamas and a lawn sign in support of Israel were found Sunday morning torn and/or defaced with black spray paint.

This vandalism comes just days after another hateful incident in Newton where a rock was thrown through a front door window of a home with a sign supporting Israel.

If anyone has seen anything or has any information about these incidents or any incident of hate in our City, please contact the Newton Police tip line at 617-796-2121.

We gain strength and comfort by standing together, listening to each other, and connecting as a community of allies. 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.

Our only way forward is to respect the rights, dignity and differences of others.

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.

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