Protesters at Columbia University covering their faces
Protesters at Columbia University covering their facesREUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for a ban on wearing masks at political rallies following a series of antisemitic incidents this week, the New York Post reported.

During numerous anti-Israel rallies, activists wearing masks or other face coverings have broken the law, called for violence, and committed acts of vandalism and violence.

In one incident on Monday, a group of people covering their faces took over a subway car in New York and demanded that any "Zionists" on board raise their hands, saying that it was their "chance to get out."

The Jewish leaders said that the revival of laws barring face coverings such as those previously used against the Ku Klux Klan.

ADL regional director Scott Richman told the Post that a new law barring the wearing of masks would "make a difference" in the face of the rise in antisemitic incidents. According to Richman, such laws “effectively tanked the Ku Klux Klan. Nobody wanted their face to be seen."

New York used to have such a law, but it was repealed in 2020 due to the government's encouragement of mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Jewish leaders compared the current climate to Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Former president of the Queens Jewish Community Council Michael Nussbaum said, “You let people spray paint the homes of residents because they sit on the board of the Brooklyn Museum. What does it lead to? This is what the Nazis did in the 1930s."

Jewish Community Relations Council head Mark Treyger called the acts committed by anti-Israel activists the "Nazi playbook come to life in 2024."

“There is a concerted effort underway to disassociate Jews and Jewish identity from schools, curriculum, universities, museums, hospitals, organizations, and everyday life — which was a tactic employed by the Nazis in the 1930’s," Treygar told the Post.

Last week, Columbia University announced that is had closed its investigation into the incident in which anti-Israel protesters held a sign calling on the Hamas terrorist organization to murder Jewish students on the university campus, citing a lack of ability to identify the protesters due to the masks they wore.

The incident occurred on April 20, a few days after anti-Israel protesters began setting up tent encampments on the Columbia campus. A woman whose face was covered by a kaffiyeh held a sign pointing to pro-Israel counter-protesters that read, "Al-Qassam's next targets."

On Tuesday night, the homes of multiple officials affiliated with the Brooklyn Museum were targeted by antisemitic vandals.

The Brooklyn Heights apartment building of Museum Director Anne Pasternak was among the homes that were vandalized. The vandals hung a sign that read 'Anne Pasternak Brooklyn Museum White Supremacist Zionist' and spray-painted an inverted red triangle, a Hamas symbol used to identify Israeli targets, on Pasternak's door along with other red graffiti.

The homes of Jewish members of the museum's board were also targeted.