ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The last time Nosh deli owner Alisa Turtletaub faced anti-Semitic remarks was in grade school, but her business is now apparently the target of a rash of hate speech, as three incidents have hit the store over the last three weeks.
On Jan. 26, she found a priority mail label stuck to the door: “To the kikes who should die,” it said. “Kike” is a denigrating term for Jewish people.
“I was speechless, I didn’t know if it was a joke,” Turtletaub said Tuesday. “It’s a really derogatory word toward Jews, it’s like the lowest you can say. I hadn’t heard that word in years.”
At first Turtletaub thought it could be a random, isolated incident. But then the suspects struck twice this weekend, leaving more priority mail labels with similar statements.
“Now it’s a pattern,” Turtletaub said. She reported the incidents to the police on Saturday, she said.
The Albuquerque Police Department is actively investigating the case, according to spokeswoman Tasia Martinez.
“The area command detectives have been putting a lot of hours into this case,” Martinez wrote in an email.
An FBI spokesman confirmed that the federal agency is also looking into the incident, although they haven’t launched an investigation into it.
Turtletaub said the hate speech is especially surprising in the Nob Hill community, which she described as diverse and generally liberal. She said the community has rallied behind her.
“The community has been tremendous in their support; the outpouring of love and support is just overwhelming,” Turtletaub said.
A vigil is planned for Thursday night by a local activist group to bring awareness to the hate speech.
“It’s to celebrate diversity, because it’s not just about the Jewish race – all different people who are affected by adversity and hate. It’s to create awareness of tolerance,” Turtletaub said. “I think the more people who come together and show their support and that they’re not going to tolerate hate crimes, there’s strength in numbers.”
As for the people who did it?
“They’re cowards,” Turtletaub said. “It’s just ignorance, it’s stupidity.”