De Blasio is stoking anti-Semitism. He's not alone. [View all]
April 29, 2020
By: Batya Ungar-Sargon
On Tuesday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared war on New Yorks Jewish community. The very same mayor who went to the gym the day after closing New York Citys schools, restaurants, and bars and who took a stroll in Prospect Park on Saturday, as news was breaking that 28 New York City schoolteachers had died from the virus, has ventured out yet again into a crowd. This time, he went to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where a large number of Satmar Hasidim had gathered. The mayor went to personally ensure the crowd was dispersed, the mayor explained in a tweet.
And then, he took things one step further: My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed, the Mayor tweeted. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
The tweets would have been outrageous coming from any elected official. Certainly, the city has the right to police people breaking its stay-at-home ordinances. Protecting first responders and flattening the curve are absolute values in the public interest. But the mayor painted a whole community with the brush of its offenders portraying the entire Jewish community as diseased malefactors requiring police intervention to stop the spread of the virus.It was grossly anti-Semitic, casting New York Citys 1 million Jews with the brush of a few hundred. And it was doubly offensive given the mayors failure to protect Orthodox Jews last year as they suffered daily physical attacks on the streets of New York City. Unsurprisingly, de Blasio had no opprobrium for the thousands of New Yorkers who, like himself, were tempted by the weekends warm weather to enjoy the citys parks. Couple all that with the fact that Satmar Headquarters is claiming that the mayors office initially approved the funeral and coordinated it with the NYPD, and you have a truly shameful debacle.
The mayor is being roundly denounced, and rightfully so. But de Blasios ugly sentiments do not stand alone. From the beginning of the outbreak, Orthodox Jews have been uniquely cast by the media as the villainous spreaders of the coronavirus, despite there being little evidence to substantiate that claim. Indeed, while being beaten up on the streets of New York for a year, Orthodox Jews couldnt get anyone to pay attention to them. Now that they can be cast as villains rather than victims, the media cant seem to get enough of them.
(Excerpted. More at link above)