As the perilous scourge of visceral anti-Semitism continues unabated in New York City in the form of attacks on Orthodox Jews as well as their homes and synagogues, our elected officials have stubbornly remained mute on the issue of clearly identifying from whence these attacks are emanating.
This past week a synagogue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn was vandalized on Rosh Hashanah and a hassidic woman was attacked as well. Video footage shows two minority youth throwing a milk crate and a metal mailbox at the synagogue. They were with at least three other young people of color outside the Throop Avenue synagogue. The impact broke a window.
It appears that the best that New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio could muster up in response to these attacks was to call them a "hate crime" on his Twitter account but he never offered a clear and decisive plan on how to deter these attacks.
Having said this, it is long overdue to squarely confront Mayor DeBlasio as well as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James and others who are committed to furthering the Democratic party agenda of transforming anti-Semitism into a politically "right wing" phenomenon that will only cease to exist when President Trump vacates office.
In response to this dangerous political chicanery of dismissing anti-Semitic attacks when they are committed by minority youth, I thought a letter to the Mayor and his cohorts would be in order.
Dear Mayor DeBlasio,
As you are well aware, over the last four months New York City has witnessed an alarming escalation in anti-Semitism. Brutal attacks on Jews are not only commonplace occurrences but they are now happening on a daily basis.
Despite the fact that former Assemblyman Dov Hikind led hundreds of Jews in a rally outside of City Hall, calling on you and your compatriots in the Democratic party to take bold action in labeling this current trend of anti-Semitism for what it really is, you have done absolutely nothing to get to the bottom of it.
Yes, Mr. Mayor, this kind of anti-Semitism is being perpetrated by young African-American, Hispanic and Muslim youth. And yes, I also know that you and your cadre of far-left politicos simply cannot summon up the moral courage to vociferously condemn these young people as the seething haters that they are as well as the violent culture that spawned them. Yes, these youth are the darling of the left; somehow perceived as sacrosanct souls in your skewed estimation and certainly not deserving of an iota of criticism.
If you and your acolytes would actually condemn them for who they are then that, of course, would throw a burdensome wrench into the works of your political agenda. For after all, you, as well as Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James, among others would like to craft anti-Semitism as a sole product of the Trump administration. You would love to deliver speeches in which you exclusively excoriate Trump supporters as "white nationalists" who are filled with hate for Jews and are the only ones carrying out attacks against them.
Mr. Mayor, I too condemn the Jew haters who angrily marched through Charlottesville as well as the truck driver who gunned down 11 Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh and the radicalized white college student who killed a worshipper and injured others in the Passover shooting attack at synagogue in Poway, California.
As a matter of fact, I will go you even one step further. I condemn all white supremacists and their evil Hitlerian ideology. Both of my parents (may they live until 120) are Holocaust survivors and I grew up on the stories of the horrific brutality that they and my antecedents endured. I heard the gruesome narratives of the suffering, the constant torment and the sadistic murders that my parents witnessed first-hand because they were Jews. I can assure you, sir, that I live with these memories each and every day and I can promise you that I never forget them.
As I have stated on countless occasions, anti-Semitism is an equal opportunity offender and this menacing plague is neither married to the political left or the political right. Its loathsome tentacles are deeply entrenched in both and that is both an historical and indisputable fact.
Is political posturing and your penchant for spewing forth insipid platitudes the only thing of which you are capable? Does your palpable hatred for President Trump eclipse your moral obligation to see this problem from both sides and to fearlessly call out the perpetrators and the culture of Jew hatred on which they are weaned?
Let's face it, Mr. Mayor, as much as what I am about to say to may seem like anathema to you, he facts are the facts. Whether it originates from white people or people of color, the result is the same. And that is pure, unadulterated Jew hatred.
Allow me to point out the following. In June of this year, when you addressed a press conference on the skyrocketing hate crime statistics in New York City, you were asked by a reporter about rising anti-Semitism "on the left in the BDS movement and around the world."
You completely rejected the notion that anti-Semitism could be found among leftists, for after all, the way you see it is that anyone who rejects the policies of the current White House administration must be an integral part of the elite intelligentsia and a highly formed, enlightened soul.
You said the following. “I think the ideological movement that is anti-Semitic is the right-wing movement. I want to be very, very clear – the violent threat, the threat that is ideological – is very much from the right." You added that the perpetrators at the national and international level trace their history back to Nazism and fascism.
Speaking to the New York Post, Jewish councilman Chaim Deutsch disagreed with you. “I have not seen any white supremacists coming in here committing these hate crimes,” he said.
In an article that appeared in the September 18th issue of the New York Post, you backtracked on your position that anti-Semitism is “strictly” a right-wing movement when addressing hate crimes in the days prior to the High Holidays.
At an NYPD press conference when you were asked if white supremacy factored into the 60% rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York this year compared to last, you simply could not acknowledge it.
Instead, you uttered the following. “I think we see a difference in New York City than in the country as a whole" while, admitting that bias incidents against Jews in the city are largely committed by youth and mentally ill people.
Also in June of this year, you stated that your administration would create the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and that it would be up and running this summer. It was not.
In a September 1st report in the New York Daily News, it said you were scrambling to open the office after you were taken to task for dragging your feet on this issue by several city council members.
Please tell me how many perpetrators were arrested for anti-Jewish attacks in New York City this year? How many of them have been sentenced and what are the lengths of their sentences?
Mr. Mayor, my question to you, sir, is why did you dismiss anti-Semitism as a real problem in this city? Why did you significantly delay the opening of this office? Who exactly in the Democratic party was pulling the strings in the background as they ordered you and others to blatantly and callously ignore anti-Semitism that is perpetrated by minorities?
If you truly believe that you are on top of this horrendous situation, then please tell me how many perpetrators were arrested for anti-Jewish attacks in New York City this year? How many of them have been sentenced and what are the lengths of their sentences?
Lest you believe that I am specifically targeting you for your reprehensible indifference to anti-Semitism, let me point out that your colleagues in the Democratic party such as Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James are just as guilty for their appalling inaction on this matter as you are.
Several days ago, in the aftermath of the most recent anti-Semitic attack in Brooklyn, Governor Cuomo directed the State Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate, issuing the following statement:
"I am disgusted and enraged by yet another anti-Semitic act of vandalism, the desecration of a synagogue in Williamsburg over Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. It is simply unconscionable. I am directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance to the NYPD as they investigate this disturbing act. This incident unfortunately underscores the need for State Police to increase their patrols around houses of worship during the Jewish high holidays this year.
"In New York we have no tolerance for hate and I continue to join with our Jewish community and work to ensure the New Year is one of peace, protection and well-being."
Well, our proverbial cups are just running over. Why, oh why didn't Governor Cuomo speak of the burgeoning hatred for Jews in communities of people of color? Why didn't he address the issue of the simmering hatred of Jews that has been festering for decades? Why didn't he address this odious menace as a product of the evil stereotypes of Jews that are being fed to these young people of color every day? And more to the point, why didn't he outline a specific and nuanced plan to stop it?
And as for the state's top lawyer, let me say that the craven silence on the part of Attorney General Letitia James is beyond deplorable. Rather than exclusively reviling anti-Semitism from the political "right" as she did when a patently anti-Semitic video was circulating on social media about hassidic Jews staging a takeover of Rockland County in New York, why didn't Ms. James take an intrepid stand and condemn the anti-Semitic attacks that were committed by minority youth? Why has she only made general blanket statements that have no teeth and are totally meaningless? Why hasn't her office launched a searing investigation in these communities of color to find out if organized groups are behind these attacks? Why hasn't she directed prosecutors to seek the harshest of sentences for defendants who were apprehended by law enforcement?
And what about having these defendants face federal hate crime charges? Where has the Attorney General been and what precisely is she doing to stop these attacks?
The bottom line is and has always been that these Democratic elected officials understand full well that they will keep being re-elected to office and that they will not jeopardize the Jewish vote that catapulted them into office to begin with. They understand that the lion's share of Jews in New York are dyed in the wool Democrats who vote for uber liberal and left wing candidates and incumbents.
While I cannot dispute this tragic fact, and while I cannot for the life of me offer a cogent explanation for the reasons Jews vote for those who do not have their best interests at heart and for those who take political positions that are antithetical to Jewish causes, what I can say is that I have personally committed myself, along with other like minded people to launch our own campaign to unseat these political hacks at the ballot box.
So, Mr Mayor, chew on this for a while and kindly pass this message on to your colleagues at the highest echelon of the Democratic party.
The fight for Jewish rights, for basic protection from harm and for security of mind, body and soul has begun in earnest. We will not accede to this nefarious political agenda and we will fight for our survival. That you can count on!
Ronald J. Edelstein