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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Sunday, December 29, 2019
How LIBERALS are Allowing ANTI-SEMITISM to Flourish
A Hasidic man walks past an NYPD patrol car in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Corbis via Getty Images Karol Markowicz
Anti-Semitic attacks continue to shake our city and state. Last week, eight attacks — including four in just in 48 hours — sent a familiar shockwave rippling through the Jewish community. Then Saturday came the horrific stabbing in Monsey, New York. The poison of Jew-hatred is spreading.
Like many of you, I’m thinking, “Not this subject again.” How many columns can be devoted to it? I’ve read them. I’ve written them. It’s exhausting, and it’s dreary. Jews are being beaten up, anti-Semitism flows some years and ebbs in others. So what?
But it matters — gravely.
Mayor de Blasio released his usual by-the-numbers statement. “Hate doesn’t have a home in our city,” he tweeted. But hate does have a home here, and it has found it while Hizzoner has mostly looked away.
The mayor added: “In light of recent anti-Semitic attacks, the NYPD will increase their presence in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg.” But the recent attacks have spread to Midtown Manhattan and Gravesend, Brooklyn. The problem has gotten worse while inaction paralyzed the mayor.
I first wrote about the uptick in May. The reason the city’s liberal political class was ignoring it, I argued, is that the criminals don’t fit their picture of Evil Bigots. They aren’t, for the most part, MAGA-hat wearing white guys with tiki torches. In fact, many of the attackers are people of color, as investigative reporting by Tablet’s Armin Rosen and others has shown.
Imagine if they were white nationalists. How much faster would the mayor and other city leaders have taken action?
“A lot of folks were told it was unacceptable to be anti-Semitic,” de Blasio said in May. “It was unacceptable to be racist, and now they’re getting more permission.” The message was subtle but unmistakable: De Blasio was trying to pin the attacks in bright-blue New York on President Trump.
Hizzoner didn’t surrender the fantasy for some time. In June, he said: “I want to be very, very clear, the violent threat, the threat that is ideological, is very much from the right.”
He left unclear how the Big Apple had come to be populated by ideological far-right types beating up on Jews. His comments underscored his inability to truly counter the type of street-level anti-Semitism spreading through the city.
Will he face the facts now? Or will Jews need to actually die, not just be pummeled, for our leaders to grasp the threat?
“Anti-Semitism is an attack on the values of our city — and we will confront it head-on,”
De Blasio tweeted after this latest round of violence against Jews. He has to stop beating around the bush. These attacks aren’t an attack on “our values.” They’re attacks on visibly Jewish people.
De Blasio needs to stop trying to find a “them” to be the opposite of his “us.” His juvenile obsession with having the right adversaries allows anti-Semitism to flourish.
I used to write about Europeans and their apathetic attitudes toward the Jew-hatred around them. Synagogues torched, Jews beaten — just another day on the Continent.
But now the demon is here, in America. Worse, it’s stalking Jews with increasing regularity in New York City, my city, home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel. Hizzoner’s vague universalist rhetoric obscures this raw reality.
And it isn’t just his ideological blinders. The mayor has also helped create an anti-police atmosphere, in which the vigilant presence of officers is considered a bad thing. At an anti-police rally last month, there were signs calling for violence against the NYPD.
De Blasio’s response? He insinuated that the idea that there’s anti-police sentiment in our city is, yes, another right-wing plot.
In 2020 I don’t want to read another column like this one. All Jews want is to live our lives in safety. To ensure that, the mayor will have to stop using the violence against us to fight his invisible political foes.
De Blasio’s ideology has led to apathy, which, in turn, has resulted in injured Jews in our city. It’s time for his administration to take serious action, starting by flooding hot-spot neighborhoods with police officers empowered to act.
In May, I wrote: “The attacks, and the silence of progressive New York, are utterly appalling.” In December, it’s more than appalling. It’s complicit.