2019 was not a good year for Jews. Whether in Europe or the US, Jewish communities have endured the brunt of assaults, vandalism, and murder. Painfully institutionalized, anti-Semitism has found fertile ground in the most unlikely places. Places which for decades embraced and reveled in Jewish culture and way of life. Places where Jews lived and flourished in communities and neighborhoods. New York City and the thousands of Jews who have called the city their home for over a hundred years; comes to mind. Through time they added to the success and growth of a vibrant city that never sleeps.
In the mid-1900’s, immigrant Jews from Russia and central Europe provided much needed dress making skills. They settled in mid-Manhattan home to the famous Garment District, fashion designers and 5th avenue brands. Other Jews imported other talents. The Diamond District on 47th street between 5th and 6th Avenue is predominantly owned by Jewish families who fled Europe before and after WWII. They were responsible for the unique diamond cutting master skills that have since kept the industry in the city afloat. Once in the thousands, they now number only about a 100. Names like Kaufman and Friedman are still in demand. Similarly, Kosher restaurants and delicatessens have morphed from a bagel and lax “Jewish” thing to an “in” thing. With the proliferation of Vegan and Vegetarian diets they are the daily breakfast, lunch, or evening stop to the Starbuck drinking testing tweeting millennials. Jews and Jewish culture are as New York as Times Square, Lady Liberty, and the Empire State Building. So what changed? What has turned New York City hostile towards its most productive segment of its population? Why the hate crimes against Jews?
The Wiesenthal Center has recently published the 2019 Top Ten List of Anti-Semitism, and New York City made number six. In recent years we have seen the gradual acceptance of bigotry and bias against Jews justified by the political narrative of justice for Palestinians. BDS leads the pack with demands of boycotts and sanctions against Israel with the sole objective of disfranchising it from the rest of the civilized world. This organization is an institutionalized lie. Unfortunately it found a niche in Ivy League Universities and colleges across the USA. Add to the mix a far left liberal faculty who unhindered indoctrinates students in nebulous and dubious historic data supporting a BDS agenda, and you eventually create an anti-Semitic cocktail. The agenda insidiously legitimizes anti-Semitism by invoking the now too familiar anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric. Columbia University in NYC is unfortunately one of those universities with a history of anti-Semitism; compelling Jewish students to refrain from publicly acknowledging Judaism or engaging in any legitimate discussion on Israel. As recent as a few weeks ago, a former IDF officer with the intent to educate students on Israel and the IDF, was viciously verbally and physically assaulted by a Columbia University faculty member who among other obscenities called him a “murderer”. Ivy League anti-Semitism at its best.
One would think that the increase in anti-Semitism in the NYC area would have raised serious concerns. After all it is the bastion of liberalism. Unfortunately hate crimes on Jews by a minority group does not fit the progressive liberal media’s playbook. Let’s face it, NYC is not exactly home to gun totting tobacco chewing MAGA red hat truck driving white supremacist bubbas. The current assaults on Jews cannot be blamed on the convenient white supremacist. Most occurred in Brooklyn; a large Orthodox community. Not a week goes by that Jewish children are not attacked or that synagogues or shuls are not vandalized. Even old women are not immune to attacks.
A month or so ago, a young Israeli exchange student found herself subject to a vile assault on the NYC subway. The verbal and physical assault continued until the young lady fought back but not before she got her face scarred. She eventually hit the emergency button. She had the good sense to tape the attack. Even after being apprehended by the police, the perp continued to shout anti-Jewish vulgarities at the young Israeli and another Jewish gentleman who happened to be sitting next to her. The police stood watching. In the same week, another woman hit three young Jewish women on a side walk. All reported assaults were perpetrated by black individuals. Add Jersey City and Monsey, and one may conclude that the NYC black community has a problem. But that conclusion eludes our politicians and our media. I am sure that if the perpetrators were wearing MAGA hats the media would have a field day. Point is that the elephant in the room is not only being ignored, but forgotten like yesterday’s lunch.
The black community is definitely not addressing the problem. The biggest anti-Semite is the vile former Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. A well known hater of Christians and Jews. He has never shied from it. He has publicly called Jews termites. But that does not stop the likes of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) from oozing admiration and hugging him in public. She is outdone by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who sat side by side Farrakhan in admiration and intimate conversation at the Queen of Soul’s funeral : Aretha Franklin. Former Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory called Farrakhan “great” as she hob knobbed and took pictures with him.
The imbedded anti-Semitism among minorities and those of color continues in the hollow halls of Congress with Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn). These two formidable women were featured in Wiesenthal Center Top Ten listing as number five. Rashida found comfort in how “her people” the Palestinians provided shelter for Holocaust survivors. The Israeli UN Ambassador told her to go back and read her history books. Ilhan questioned lawmakers’ support of Israel and accused them of dual loyalty to “Benjamin’s babies”. They both got a tongue-in-cheek slap on the hand by the now certified ineffectual Speaker of the House, Ms. Pelosi who passed a half-assed bill against anti-Semitism without specifically reprimanding these two women. When Trump questioned their loyalty he was called a racist.
The unprovoked NYC attacks have brought the mandatory sigh of indignation by CNN, MSNBC, and other irrelevant left leaning liberal loving biased media of their ilk, but there were no rabid indignation normally given to alleged racist MAGA supporters. In the meantime, out of 2019’s 309 hate crimes and assaults in NYC, 169 were against Jews. The majority of which perpetrated by black individuals. Fast forward to the major NY State pinhead Governor Cuomo who spearheaded a Bail Reform bill that releases perps in non-sexual assault cases where no “physical injury” allegedly occurred. No one at this point has defined “physical injury”. But this means that a thug can terrorize a neighborhood and not kept in custody if his crime is not defined as sexual assault or “physical injury”. Three weeks ago in Brooklyn, Tiffany Harris assaulted and slapped three Orthodox women on the face while calling them “f—ing Jews”. She was released the next day. Tiffany Harris was black.
Opinion is that Brooklyn Heights’ problem between Jews and Blacks is that the Orthodox Jews are predominantly white and their numbers are growing. An insidious left handed justification for a hate crime. But when it comes to Jews, the left liberal apologists will justify anything to remain true to their racial tolerant agenda. Not one black leader has come forward in indignation. No marches across the Brooklyn Bridge, no protests to demand justice, no burning or looting in the streets in anger. No one has asked for the mayor’s or the governor’s resignation. Police presence has increased and the city’s Guardian Angels have volunteered to also patrol Jewish Communities. But it does not solve deep rooted problem of racial hate.
Between the crazy white supremacists and the new minority threat, Jews in NYC and the rest of the country for that matter, are finding it hard to grasp the predicament they are in. They ask themselves, why? My personal theory is simple. Jews are inherently successful because they are also inherently self sufficient. I do not know of any Jews on welfare. Jews are continually creating. The best musicals, movies, and Christmas music, were created by Jews. So by virtue of their personal success they rise above the fray. A position coveted by many and achieved by only a few. As a goy I admire and am in awe of Jewish tenacity and resiliency. As a person I am pained by the blatant hatred of a populace that continually strives to improve our lives through research in science and technology. Jewish ingenuity has improved all our lives in ways we can never imagine. The world cannot afford to lose Jewish talent to bigoted and ignorant thugs. It’s up to you New York: get a grip, take a stand, and solve the problem. The world is waiting.