Source: JP Newsroom
As activists, headed by Rev. Al Sharpton, marched and protested against the NYPD and City officials over the killing of Eric Garner, a new report revealed a spike in anti-Semitic attacks against members of the Jewish community.
But while the NYPD rushed to calm tensions with the black community, promising to reform the Police Department’s practice of arrests, the City’s elected officials, as well as police brass, have done very little to wind down the increasing fear of many in the Jewish community of the spike in hate crime attacks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, at the few Jewish events he has attended over the past year, has given us his lip service, vowing to stand up and fight anti-Semitic and bias attack by all means. “If someone is assaulting a fellow New Yorker because he’s Jewish, that is something we will not accept. We will use all the power of the city to confront them,” the mayor forcefully declared in the spring.
Similarly, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, during a visit to Israel, told Haaretz that one of the ways you deal with bias attacks is “make it quite clear that type of crime is a crime that will not be tolerated.”
“It’s not something that can be ignored. If a swastika is painted on a door anywhere in America, that is treated very seriously. You’ve got to deal with it before it’s allowed to grow,” the police commissioner told the Israeli publication back in May.
But that seems to be all bark and no bite.
The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan have been under attack for several months, witnessing a stark increase in bias attacks against the Jewish community, mainly in Borough Park, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Upper East Side. But despite the providence of video footage evidence, and pledges to act in a swift manner, so far, very few suspects were apprehended.
Just last week, on Friday night at around 11:30pm, surveillance video showed a 20-year-old resident from Kiryas Joel, Monroe, being assaulted by one of three bicyclists while walking on the street. One of the bicyclists rode onto the sidewalk and threw off his yarmulke while yelling derogatory comments. On Monday, the yeshiva student filed a police report, but on Tuesday, when one of our investigative reporters inquired about the status of the report, he was told by the 66st precinct that the case was closed, without even launching a proper investigation. When pressed by our reporter for concrete answers, no real reason was given as to why the case was closed.
On Monday morning, also in Borough Park, a 13-year-old Yeshiva student, who was walking along 53rd Street between 13th and 14th Avenues (mere blocks away of former councilman Bill de Blasio’s district office on 13th avenue) at around 6:30am, was kicked down to the ground, after which the suspect took off and fled the scene, while laughing at the injured victim. Police launched an investigation into the incident, but never picked up video surveillance of the incident.
Moreover, a coordinator of the BP Shomrim Patrol group who was physically assaulted on early Friday morning was asked by responding police officers not to press charges against the perpetrator.
Two weeks ago, a Jewish couple was attacked by pro-Palestinian thugs in the Upper East Side. Despite having the license plates and the identity of the suspects, no arrests have been made yet. On the other hand, when two Israeli men assaulted a 56-year-old African-American man in Crown Heights, they were immediately arrested and charged.
In comparison to all of the above, when an Arab-American civil rights activist, Linda Sarsour, was allegedly harassed and attacked by a well-known drunk junkie with a rap sheet of 56 previous arrests for petty crimes, in Bay Ridge last Tuesday, the suspect was immediately arrested and charged with a hate crime. NYC elected officials were quick to condemn that specific hate crime, offering their support to Sarsour.
The reported attack and the fact that the police arrived 45 minutes late, prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer to rush to condemn the attack and embrace Sarsour.
On Thursday afternoon, NYC mayor bill de Blasio tweeted “New Yorkers stand with you, @lsarsour. Our city will never condone such glaring acts of bigotry and intolerance.” Soon after, NYC comptroller Scott Stringer also chimed in, tweeting, “The deplorable attack on @lsarsour has no place in NYC. Diversity is our strength. Hate & prejudice are unacceptable anywhere. Enough.”
While their condemnation was understood and expected, it seems that they only rushed to condemn hate against Arabs/Muslims while ignoring similar incidents against Jews. A brief search on the timelines of the above officials shows no condemnation, or any mention of bigotry against Jewish victims over recent months.
The question begs would the mayor and comptroller have tweeted to the 20-year-old Jew who got his yarmulke thrown off his head had it been a keffiyah? Would the NYPD bother to pick up the surveillance video of the attack on the 13-year-old Yeshiva student had he been a Muslim kid?
Just to emphasize: We don’t question the City government’s commitment to combat hate crimes and anti-Semitism. However, we do wonder why the Mayor and the Jewish Comptroller would publicly condemn, in unprecedented tweets, an alleged hate attack against a Palestinian-American activist, but remain silent on multiple hate incidents against individuals in the Jewish community.
We don’t march, yell or scream at NYPD officers, nor rally against the administration in protest. This is not our way. But are we victims of our own fate by remaining silent and expecting these incidents to be dealt with without crying foul? Why this blatant double standard?
Are attacks against Jews not considered a hate crime? Are Borough Park or Crown Heights not part of New York City?
All we expect, as citizens of New York City, is to be treated as first class citizens – or just as the other noisy activists are being treated – and our elected officials, as well as our law enforcement officials, to practice what they preach and take swift action to defy the skeptics and end the attacks on our community.