Inept NYC officials still in a quandary about rising antisemitism

Letitia James, Cy Vance, Andrew Cuomo and  Bill DeBlasio have a lot of explaining to do. But in the meantime, we all need to recognize and acknowledge the fact that antisemitism is not going anywhere and tragically it is here to stay.

Ronald Edelstein, | updated: 15:44

OpEds Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky attends pre-election rally in Jerusalem, April 8, 2019
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky attends pre-election rally in Jerusalem, April 8, 2019
INN:RE

One would have to live in a hermitage, not to have taken notice of the incessant, brutal and burgeoning attacks on Jews in the New York City area in the month of December alone. Clearly, a vitriolic and palpable antisemitism has not only manifested itself in lethal proportions but it has come to represent a diabolical threat to our existential survival.

I had written about the rapid escalation of antisemitism  here at Arutz 7 on several occasions.  Here is the link to my most recent article.

And now, in the aftermath of the Jersey City murders of Orthodox Jews,  the brutal stabbing of five Orthodox Jews during a Hannukah celebration at a rabbi's home in Monsey and the fourteen more anti-Semitic attacks in the month of December, we find ourselves back to square one in terms of finding a resolution to this dastardly scourge of Jew hatred.  


On January 7th, State Senator Simcha Felder, who represents constituents in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, called for DeBlasio's resignation for his ineffectiveness in stemming the tide of antisemitism.
Yes, a "solidarity march" against antisemitism billed as "No Hate, No Fear" was sponsored by an array of establishment Jewish organizations.  25,000 people (Jews and non-Jews) came to voice their outrage by the uptick in violent hate crimes. While it was originally believed that this march would essentially craft an erroneous narrative that would call the dramatic uptick in antisemitism a product of the Trump era, it actually gave voice to all views and unity prevailed.

Now that the march is also behind us, we once again look to our elected officials for real solutions to the ubiquitous antisemitism that has us in a collective choke hold.

Several weeks ago, Mayor DeBlasio officially launched his program that called for new crime prevention efforts to combat hate and antisemitism . He called for the creation of new multi-ethnic interfaith Neighborhood Safety Coalitions, increased NYPD presence, and new Department of Education lesson plans and curriculum as part of the City’s commitment to the prevention of hate crimes and antisemitic attacks.

Thus far, the mayor's plans to significantly reduce the number of antisemitic attacks in the city has been an abysmal failure in every sense of the word.  He claims that "intolerance will never take hold" in New York City, yet he rewards those who promulgate intolerance by offering gift programs for newly released jail inmates and for his stalwart support for the new bail reform laws.

Let's not forget the case of Tiffany Harris, the 30-year old African American woman who was repeatedly released from custody after back-to-back arrests last month. Her offenses included slapping three Orthodox women in the head in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn while shouting "F*-U, Jews!" Harris was quite proud of what she had said and even boasted about it in front of a judge who subsequently granted her release. She became a symbol of revolving door justice and the likelihood of us seeing a lot more of that is right around the corner.

Clearly unable or unwilling to tackle the problem of antisemitism head on in a concrete manner, DeBlasio took to the airwaves to blame anyone but himself for his feckless behavior. On December 30th, it was reported that in a Fox News interview, DeBlasio  said: "An atmosphere of hate has been developing in this country over the last few years. A lot of it is emanating from Washington and it's having an effect on all of us."

Rather than addressing the reality that Jew hatred is an endemic part of our culture and that the vast majority of attacks against Orthodox Jews are being perpetrated by members of minorities; (namely African-American youth and adults), the liberal-left DeBlasio and others of his ilk remain grotesquely obdurate about using contemporary antisemitism to further their political goals of ousting President Trump from office.

But then again isn't that what the "politicization" of antisemitism is all about? After all, when antisemitic attacks are carried out by "white nationalists" the media is all over it with a zealous ferocity, but when these same acts are committed by members of the black community, only scant attention is given to it.  If antisemitism does not fit the narrative of Trump derangement syndrome;  if antisemitism cannot be utilized to drill another nail in Trump's coffin, then it is intentionally and callously ignored.

On January 7th, State Senator Simcha Felder, who represents constituents in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, called for DeBlasio's resignation for his ineffectiveness in stemming the tide of antisemitism.

In an open letter to the mayor, Felder said, "Mr. Mayor, your dismal failure in responding to this crisis is stunning, even for a mayoralty marked by dereliction of duty and severe mismanagement. Open your eyes. Hate has taken full advantage of your negligence and the dangerous, irrational policies heaved upon this city by your administration. On your watch, hate has come home to roost and despite your assertions, hate has found a very comfortable home here."

Felder added, "This city is in a death spin and you, Mayor de Blasio, are at the helm and completely incapable of righting its course. The only thing you can do to protect the people now is resign."

This past Wednesday, it was reported that City Councilman Kalman Yeger, who represents Borough Park, delivered both a powerful and scathing address in the council chamber. It was there in which he correctly assigned blame for the horrific escalation of antisemitism in the city to elected officials and the media.

Yeger said that both the media and elected officials tend to embolden the scourge of antisemitism by creating negative stereotypes of Jews and creating a palpable fear and mistrust of those in his community.  

Concerning the “No Hate, No Fear” solidarity march on January 5th, that the UJA-Federation of NY and other establishment groups helped to organize and support, Yeger said that some who attended  “spend the other 364 days of the year festering hate against my community.”

In his strongly worded address, Yeger added, “For far too long, too many who hold public office, and those who portend themselves to be members of the media, have tinkered at the fringes of antisemitism. You market an “us vs. them” message against Orthodox Jews. You did this. When you deliberately paint a portrait of Orthodox Jews as backwards members of society, who don’t vote how you like, don’t do what you want, don’t educate our children how you wish, you did this.”

This past Friday, DeBlasio announced that  New York City will install 100 new security cameras in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in an effort to prevent antisemitic attacks. The new cameras will be installed in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park, where hassidic Jewish residents have been preyed upon by minority attackers.

I can tell you that as a real estate developer, I personally know of one apartment building in Manhattan that has 72 safety cameras and the installation of 100 cameras is wholly insufficient. Sorry, Mr. Mayor, but this just won't cut it. Try upping the number of cameras to 5000 in a city of this size and then maybe it will be worth the taxpayers' expense.

Arresting antisemitic attackers will never be a deterrent to such heinous crimes unless these offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And that brings me to my next point. The state's top lawyer, better known as attorney general Letitia James has proven that she is callously indifferent to the suffering of Orthodox Jews who live in fear, every moment of every day that they or their families will be the next victims of antisemitism.

Ms. James offered no statements of support and frankly, she remained completely silent about the surge in antisemitism until she was coerced to hold a press conference in the aftermath of the brutal stabbings of hassidic Jews at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg of Monsey, on Saturday evening, December 28th.

In a statement released to the media, James said, “There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”

Yeah, right. Tell me another one.

She followed that up with a press conference after meeting with Orthodox leaders. She then claimed that she would work with local district attorneys in providing them support for their prosecutions of antisemitic attackers. She also promised that she would monitor social media sites that routinely spew forth vitriolic antisemitic credos.

Suffice it to say, she has done absolutely nothing to prevent the burgeoning antisemitism that has gripped our city and state. She has still have not promulgated a viable plan to quash antisemitism as the slow motion roll to yet another European style deadly pogrom takes place before our very eyes.

If anything, she has made it her raison d'etre to promote antisemitism through her constant harassment of Jewish businesses and Jewish real estate owners in New York. It is noteworthy to mention that of the thousands of investigations that Ms. James has directed her office to launch since taking office, not one of them has focused on exactly who is behind the frightening growth of antisemitic attacks.

Her investigations do not include the Reverend Al Sharpton's organization, known as the National Action Network, which, according to a November 19th report in the New York Post, has dodged the kind of scrutiny that other nonprofits are routinely subjected to. Last year alone, Sharpton walked off with a $1 million annual salary. Is there something wrong with this picture? Yet bet there is. 

Insiders and experts say that due to his political clout and influence which has the support of such Jewish leaders as Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Hamptons synagogue, Sharpton has evaded  being the target of investigations by the attorney general's office. The same NY Post report cited one top Democratic insider who said,   “There are certain things that are universally true in New York: the sun rises in the east, it sets in the west, the subway is late and no one wants to pick a fight with Al Sharpton. Where’s the political benefit to doing it?”

The Post report went on to say: "Sharpton’s teflon provides a sharp contrast to the vigorous investigations state Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance mounted against President Trump, including his troubled charity. James and two of her predecessors pursued litigation against Trump for self-dealing, including billing his own Donald J. Trump Foundation $10,000 for his portrait. A Manhattan judge ordered that Trump pay $2 million in damages in the case."


HaRav Kanievsky stated his opposition to posting guards at religious venues but made clear that worshippers were permitted to carry firearms to the synagogue if the purpose was saving a life.
These elected officials  gleefully serve as proxies for the far-left Democratic party as well as spokespeople for the Deep State and the dark money that lines their pockets.

Yes, folks, Letitia James, Cy Vance, Andrew Cuomo and  Bill DeBlasio have a lot of explaining to do. But in the meantime, we all need to recognize and acknowledge the fact that antisemitism is not going anywhere and tragically it is here to stay.

We need to understand that our safety and protection is in our own responsibility. We must begin to learn self-defense techniques.  In reference to Jews carrying guns for the purpose of self-defense in these dangerous times in which we live,

It was reported just recently that HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita of Eretz Yisroel has said that American Jews are halakhically permitted to carry guns to the synagogue on Shabbos for the exclusive purpose of self-defense.

The question to HaRav Kanievsky was specifically framed around having “armed guards” at synagogues, due to the increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

The report indicated that HaRav Kanievsky stated his opposition to posting guards at religious venues but made clear that worshippers were permitted to carry firearms to the synagogue if the purpose was saving a life.

The question was followed by asking if it is allowable to carry guns to synagogue even if a threat against worshippers is only potential, rather than “immediate.” Harav Chaim said it is allowable.

I think that this is the most important psak halakha for the times in which we live and I encourage all Jews to pay serious heed to HaRav Kanievsky's words. 

Ronald Edelstein is the son of Holocaust survivors and a lifelong Jewish activist, writer and speaker. He is the chairman of Ron Properties, a real estate company in New York.




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