Scott Cushing
Former Newspaper Publisher and Editorial Writer

When criminal justice reform invites Jew hatred

Congregation Bet Shalom worshippers in Brooklyn went to shul and were met with "Hitler" scrawled on the wall. Jew hatred is growing as a result of criminal justice "reforms" of the woke culture. (photo courtesy of Scott Cushing)

Jew hatred continues and no community is being spared. The ante is raised with every occurrence. The severity grows and ranges from the dissemination of antisemitic fliers to assault on Jews.

The so-called New York State criminal justice reforms opened the door to criminals and purveyors of hate. Authored by the extreme left, the new laws were touted as a new dawn of enlightenment to public safety and security. The reality is a nightmare.

The crown jewel of the effort, according to the liberal wing of politicians, was “cashless bail.” Judges, before the new act, had the option of keeping criminals behind bars and setting strong bail terms. The new “woke” laws strip Judges of their judicial discretionary power on bail, even when faced with the most hardened of criminals.

For Jews, the law had an impact once thought unimaginable. Neighborhoods, businesses and religious institutions were put into a “canned hunt” of criminal activity. It begs the question. Why is this happening? The answer will no doubt ignite strong commentary. The spirit of lawlessness, due to the application of criminal justice reforms, has promoted and invited the current crisis.

The message to criminals and hate-mongers was clear; crime is not being taken seriously and victims are an afterthought. At the time of enactment, politicians took victory laps over their “woke” work.

Today, ideas that are known to be dangerous and, put communities at risk, are currently being dressed up in the costume of reform. The thought that politicians are continuing to look at strategies to “defund the police” and enact universal “cashless bail” is a continuing threat to neighborhoods. Make no mistake. This is a manifesto pledge of the “woke” and it is more than a simple ideology. It is a foundation of their political identity and doctrine.

In the hysteria of being the most “woke,” these same politicians ignore the voices of law enforcement, district attorneys and criminal justice experts on the ramifications of their actions. To them, it is all about looking liberal and enlightened. It is a badge of honor to be seen as rejecting law enforcement.

The objective with “cashless bail” in New York was to bring a level playing field to communities where bail laws had a disparate impact. On that score, many agreed with the idea. However, what happened next was not collaborative and turned into a “woke” auction of legislation to water down and eliminate the tools judges and law enforcement utilize to keep communities safe.

Experts issued warnings. In the euphoria of passing the legislation, the consequences pointed out by experts were ignored and sneered at. The bill passed and was signed into law with great fanfare of the ideological extreme left.

It was not until weeks and months later the real result was felt. “Cashless bail” was a “get out of jail free card.” Criminals had the green light to victimize and commit crime. Even if they were arrested, they would be cut loose in hours of booking to commit more mayhem.

The politician’s self-congratulatory victory tour came to a screeching halt as a citizen revolt ensued at the ballot box. The biggest scalp was a State Senator from Long Island who authored the cashless bail law. He was defeated in a landslide in his bid for District Attorney. Voters held him responsible for making their communities less safe.

Faced with more looming election losses, including her own, the Governor brought the legislature back to Albany in a special session to “fix” the law. While amendments were enacted, it became painfully obvious that the impact was cosmetic and only gave cover to politicians endangered in an election year. One amendment dealt with hate crimes. However, the damage was done. Crime within Jewish communities continues to skyrocket.

There is a sad and maddening irony to the story. Some politicians who promote and demand these reforms hire private security firms to protect them to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. No wonder the credo of “defund the police” rolls off their tongues so easily. In their mind, the family working multiple jobs to make ends meet should suffer at the hands of criminals. In the meantime, they are personally protected with their own private security force twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is “woke” political privilege at its best.

That brings us to the recent spate of Jew hatred attacks in the New York City metropolitan area. When Jew hatred graffiti is discovered on the outside wall of a Jewish synagogue with the word “Hitler,” you cannot simply turn your head. When fliers menace Jewish neighborhoods, the safety and security of communities is deemed questionable.

The cold hard facts of these so-called criminal justice reforms are that they are an invitation for hate groups to launch attacks on Jews and other minority groups. Hate-mongers have a strategic objective. They know full well that the politicians who authored these acts have given them the keys to the hate kingdom. While cashless bail and Jew hatred is not necessarily linked to one another, you do not have to use your imagination to see how it is.

“Cashless bail” impacts people in countless ways. Menacing Jewish neighborhoods, robbing stores, vandalizing religious institutions and community corridors with Jew hatred slogans is now the norm. It is targeted. The haters know exactly what they are doing. Criminals are using political “woke” politicians and their legislative hypocrisy as their shield.

Did the “woke” set think about how letting dangerous criminals on the streets impacts a community? Did they even reflect on how this would create an unsafe environment for the very people they are supposed to represent? The answer is no. For the new generation of progressive enlightened leaders, it is much more important to be the most liberal or forward-thinking individual on the planet. The result of their shallow political belief system is that the most vulnerable are the victims. What have they really accomplished? Hate wins. Criminals win. People suffer.

We do have a choice. The only language that a politician hears is the casting of a ballot that holds them accountable for their actions. Ask yourself; do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Do you feel your community is safer today than just a few years ago? If the answer is no, then you know what to do.  Speak loudly- vote.

About the Author
Michael "Scott" Cushing serves as Special Advisor to the Nassau County Executive on the Combating Antisemitism Task Force. He also serves on the Community Advisory Board of Northwell Long Island Jewish Hospital, Valley Stream, New York. Further, he is former Publisher and Editorial writer for the Gateway-Bulletin Newspapers. He served in senior staff positions for the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate for over twenty years. He is active in Israeli and Jewish affairs in Nassau County.
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