As Jew hatred boils over in NY, where is AG Letitia James?

Not a word of support to NY Jews in fear of their lives. Nor on encouraging pursuance of tough sentences for hate crimes against Jews. Op-ed

Ronald J. Edelstein ,

Palestinian protest in the heart of New York
Palestinian protest in the heart of New York
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

As mainstream American news outlets continue to provide extensive coverage surrounding the dramatic uptick in anti-Semitic attacks on Jews and Jewish property, I pause and ponder about just how quickly this latest explosion of visceral Jew hatred has emerged on the scene.

I may be called a lot of things, but one thing I am not is naïve. As a son of Holocaust survivors and a lifelong Jewish activist who has been in the forefront of battling the perennial scourge of anti-Semitism since my youth, I am keenly cognizant of the fact that Jew hatred is simmering eternally under the surface; ready and eager to rear its odious head at just about any perceived provocation.

So, let’s be clear. This wave of heightened anti-Semitic assaults was not triggered by the latest Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s response to it. These pro-Hamas supporters who we see on the streets of major cities in North America demonstrating against Israel’s right to exist share the terrorist dogma of the organization that they worship. The left wing media continues to erroneously label them as “pro-Palestinian” supporters but if they truly were supporters of the Palestinian Arabs, they would turn their wrath towards the organization that is totally responsible for turning the Palestinians into pawns in a deadly game by using them as human shields.

But I digress. What I have taken notice of is the torrent of vehement condemnations regarding the violent wave of anti-Semitic attacks from about every elected official and community leader under the sun. What really sparked fear and outrage was the severe beating doled out to 29-year old Joseph Borgen of Lawrence, Long Island. A visibly Orthodox Jew, Borgen was on his way to attend a pro-Israel rally in Times Square on Thursday evening, May 20th when he was savagely set upon by a gang of bloodthirsty Jew haters who were hiding under the guise of being “pro-Palestinian” and “anti-Zionist.”

Borgen said he was surrounded by a "whole crowd of people who proceeded to physically attack me, beat me, kick me, punch me, hit me with crutches, hit me with flag poles". He was also blinded for several hours after the attackers pepper-sprayed his eyes during the brutal assault.

On a very personal note, this brutal attack hits very close to home as Borgen was a beloved neighbor of mine and in addition, my daughters are particularly close with Borgen’s sister.

When New York City police apprehended one of the gang members; a 23-year old named Waseem Awawdeh from the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, we saw the result of the new bail reform laws. The judge at his arraignment released him at a mere $10,000 in bail, despite the fact that prosecutors told her that the attack was unprovoked. So much for justice.

And then from out of the woodwork came the cacophony of voices riddled with anger at the level of hate in this city. Strident voices calling for measures to be taken to stem the tide of this unprecedented violence in New York City that has been targeting Jews in some of the most egregious hate crimes that the city has witnessed in recent days.

As of May 16th, hate crimes were up by 71 percent, compared with the same time period last year, according to the NYPD.

Subsequent to the attack on Borgen, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio stated during a meeting with Orthodox Jewish leaders at Brooklyn’s 66th Precinct in the Borough Park section, “Anti-Semitic attacks will not be tolerated here in New York City. We will stomp out anti-Semitism anywhere we find it.” He added: “The NYPD will be out in force in Jewish communities to protect the people of these communities."

Also weighing on this hot button issue was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who stated, "I am sickened by the series of anti-Semitism acts in New York City and across the state, including the vandalism of a Synagogue on Staten Island and several kosher restaurants throughout the city, as well as ongoing harassment of members of our Jewish community. This behavior does not represent who we are as New Yorkers, and the cowards responsible for these despicable acts are only seeking to divide and intimidate us — but we will never let hate win.”

He added that, “the New York State Police have increased patrols at downstate synagogues, schools and other Jewish community facilities and is conducting outreach to Jewish communities to help address any security concerns amid this spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes and increased tensions caused by the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During these troubling times, we will continue to do everything in our power to protect our Jewish brothers and sisters and stand united against hate in all its forms."

Even the White House crafted their own statement in the name of President Biden which read, “In the last weeks, our nation has seen a series of anti-Semitic attacks, targeting and terrorizing American Jews. These attacks are despicable, unconscionable, un-American, and they must stop. I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice. He added that: “We cannot allow the toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories to put our fellow Americans at risk. As Attorney General Garland announced, the Department of Justice will be deploying all of the tools at its disposal to combat hate crimes.”

Most members of Congress also took the opportunity to lambaste the world’s oldest form of hatred.

Interestingly enough, in New York, where the vast majority of the anti-Semitic attacks are taking place, one nary hears a word from the state’s attorney general. The one person who has it within their bailiwick the authority to call for tougher sentences for perpetrators has remained cryptically mum.

Let’s not forget the fact that when physical attacks began being perpetrated against Asian-Americans in the aftermath of the coronavirus, it was New York Attorney General Letitia James who boldly made public pronouncements condemning such hate-driven violence.

At a February 27th rally at Foley Square, close to New York City’s Chinatown in lower Manhattan, Ms. James joined other elected officials and Noel Quintana, an individual who was a victim of a hate crime. Seeking to display her support for the Asian-American community, she began her remarks by yelling, “No hate, no fear, Asians are here to stay.”

According to a report on the amny.com web site, Ms. James said: “When I think of Noel, I think of the words of Dr. King. It is the good people who fail to stand up. It is the silence of good people who fail to stand up, who allow racism and hate to persist and so all of us are here today, all of us who believe in the goodness of one another. All of us who recognize that all of us bleed red.” She added: “All of us who recognize that his scars will heal. But the scars of hate. It is the scars of hate, the taint of hate and the pain of hate. And we have got a cure and so all of us must stand together with no space between us. Shoulder to shoulder, brother to brother, sister to sister. Blacks and Whites and Asians and Latinos, all of us must say no hate, no fear. The goodness of people must stand up together.”

The amny.com report indicated that James exclaimed that hate will not be tolerated in a country of immigrants, sharing that statistics of these hate crimes go undocumented due to the fear of making a report. She urged anyone who has been attacked or faced any sort of racial bias to come to her office and file a report.

Well, folks, three cheers for Letitia James. While it is quite meritorious for her to step up to the proverbial plate and spew forth about the reprehensible rhetoric being expressed about a particular minority, the question still remains about her interest or lack thereof in standing up in such an intrepid fashion as it pertains to the horrific proliferation of malignant Jew hatred.

We have heard not a word of anger and angst against those attacking Jews. Not a word of support, comfort or practical assistance to Jews who live in fear of their own lives and those of their families every single day. Not a word about encouraging prosecutors to pursue tough sentences on those who commit hate crimes against Jews. But then again, one can easily conclude that Ms. James is too busy in the affairs of state to have time to placate her Jewish constituents, yet somehow she managed to schedule time to express her positions on the wave of anti-Asian and Indian-American attacks. Currently, she and her staff are in the throes of a multi-pronged investigation of Governor Cuomo’s alleged misdeeds such as the nursing home deaths last March, the numerous sexual harassment allegations made against him and the charge that he possibly used taxpayer dollars to have his staff help him with this latest best-selling book.

More importantly, however, is the fact that Ms. James now occupies her time by fulfilling her campaign pledge to “get Donald Trump” no matter what the cost. In so doing, she is not only carving out her own legacy as the lawyer who brought the purportedly corrupt ex-president down, but she may also be paving the way to higher political aspirations.

According to a Washington Post report of December 2018, Ms. James said among her first priorities is investigating Trump and is proud of the reputation she has built for prosecuting “the worst landlords in New York City.” It is clear that in her estimation, Trump is the landlord in chief. The report indicated that she said she will look into whether the Trump family violated the rights of tenants in New York to enrich themselves.

It is clear that some New York City landlords should be taken to task for illegal activity, however, Ms. James also pursues cases against law abiding landlords who are deeply concerned with the living conditions of their tenants. Many of these landlords who investigations show scrupulously adhere to the complex legal code and are still pursued by James happen to be Jewish.

Several weeks ago, Ms. James announced that she had changed the focus of her investigation into the Trump Organization, attempting to transform it from a civil case to a criminal matter. She is investigating the way Trump’s business assigned values to its real estate holdings as it solicited loans and sought tax breaks permitted under the law. Whether she will ever issue indictments is an open question and unknown, as was suggested by Fox News’ Greg Jarrett.

As to Ms. James’ mission to prosecute Trump on criminal charges, it seems to me she sees Trump as the extension of the proverbial Jewish landlord; after all, he is a man surrounded by Jewish advisors and those who helped him build his real estate empire.

For anyone who has eyes to see and ears that hear, Ms. James’ outrageous negligence in addressing issues such as the widespread proliferation of vicious anti-Semitic assaults point to callous indifference and perhaps simmering animus towards Jews.

In this “woke culture” in which we live, the Jew has become the dubious paradigm of the greedy capitalist, the oppressive racist, the heartless bogeyman. Has Ms. James subscribed to this patently false notion that is incessantly promoted by the media and the stealth Marxist revolutionaries who are pulling the strings from behind the scenes?

The job of the state’s top lawyer is to serve and protect all citizens, irrespective of ethnicity, race and religious affiliation. Ms. James has failed in this regard and the time is long overdue for her to seriously rethink her position on Jewish issues and issue a sincere apology to the Jewish communities that she serves. If she is unwilling to do so, she should also seriously consider tendering her resignation. In that case, nothing less will suffice.

For more information on the Jewish organizational response to the inaction of Ms. James and other attorneys general as it pertains to the escalating rates of anti-Semitism, please click on this link: https://freebeacon.com/latest-news/jewish-groups-call-on-state-attorneys-general-to-take-action-to-stem-anti-semitic-violence/

Ronald J 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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