NYC Mayor Eric Adams donates $5K of own money to catch anti-Israel agitators who defaced World War I memorial

The protesters wrote 'Free Gaza' on the 107th United States Infantry monument and burned the American flag at the Central Park site

New York Mayor Eric Adams reacted with anger and disgust on Tuesday, after anti-Israel protesters vandalized a World War I memorial in New York City on Monday.

The 107th United States Infantry monument, located along Central Park on the Upper East Side, depicts seven U.S. Army soldiers in the throes of battle in September 1918, as they burst through the Hindenburg Line — the last and strongest of the German army's defense. 

On Monday, as anti-Israel protests were underway in the area near Hunter College and the star-studded Met Gala, demonstrators placed pro-Palestinian stickers on the memorial, spray-painted "Free Gaza" and burned the American flag at the site.

Adams, whose uncle died while serving in Vietnam at age 19, offered $5,000 of his own money to catch the vandals. NYPD Crime Stoppers is offering another $10,000 as a reward.


A World War I memorial defaced in Central Park

Anti-Israel protesters vandalized a World War I memorial in Central Park, which depicts the 107th United States Infantry in battle.  (Rashid Umar Abbasi for Fox News Digital)

"We're going to treat this crime with the seriousness that it deserves," Adams said Tuesday in front of the monument. "I will not stand by while people desecrate memorials for those who fought for democracy and human rights. The right rights that they (pro-Palestinian groups) are calling for."

Video footage posted online shows a group of anti-Israel supporters placing a flag on the statue and using spray paint to advocate for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to multiple veterans' groups for comment on the matter. 

Burned American flag

Anti-Israel protesters burned an American flag at the site of a World War I memorial.  (Rashid Umar Abbasi for Fox News Digital)

Officials noted that the memorial is different from most others, which generally honor high-ranking military officials. 

"This is a [monument] to the Doughboys," said Zachary Iscol, commissioner of the city's Department of Emergency Management, who was referring to the nickname for troops under Army Gen. John Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces.

NYPD alert on WWI vandals

The NYPD is looking for anti-Israel protesters allegedly responsible for vandalizing a World War I memorial in New York City. (NYPD)

In an online post, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army infantry officer, said the "terrorist sympathizers committed felony violations of the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act by defacing this memorial to the 107th Infantry."

New York City Councilor Vickie Paladino, who represents a portion of Queens, said a friend cleared the site of "Hamas propaganda" and planted American flags. 

"He and another Veteran went into action as soon as images emerged of what had happened here. Sadly this is far from over," she wrote online.

NYPD photo of three suspects

Three suspects are being sought for the vandalism of a memorial honoring a Civil War general.  (NYPD)

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, an advocacy group with chapters across the country, pointed Fox News Digital to a May 1 statement on the anti-Israel protests.

"The first amendment of the Constitution grants the rights of freedom of speech and of the people peacefully to assemble, the same rights members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) swore an oath to support and defend, said VFW Commander-in-Chief Duane Sarmiento. "We also support the rule of law in our country and those working to uphold it. Without them, segments of our population would have their rights infringed upon."


New York City police remove a Palestinian flag from the Gen. Sherman statue near Central Park. (Rashid Umar Abbasi for Fox News Digital)

Elsewhere on Monday night, protesters also put a Palestinian flag on a statue honoring Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman near Central Park. NYPD officers arrived and blocked the crowd while an officer climbed on a ladder to remove it. 

The monument was also defaced with spray paint. Three suspects are being sought for that alleged act of vandalism. 

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