Is the shocking rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes related to an overall increase in violent crime, or to something even more ominous?
Amid an ongoing spate of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised New Yorkers not to, “turn a blind eye to this hatred.”
Other prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, NYC Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang, and many others have also condemned the recent attacks on Jewish people which have been taking place across the nation.
“The attacks we saw in Brooklyn last night were unconscionable,” De Blasio tweeted on Sunday, calling the attacks, “pure, unbridled anti-Semitism.”
Members of the Jewish community, and organizations dedicated to combating hate speech, are understandably shocked by the major spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes the nation has experienced over the past week.
“As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home,” said the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Johnathan Greenblatt.
“We are tracking acts of harassment, vandalism and violence as well as a torrent of online abuse. It’s happening around the world- from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform,” warned Greenblatt.
“Preliminary ADL Data Reveals Uptick in Antisemitic Incidents Linked to Mideast Violence,” announced the ADL on May 20, 2021. “Dozens of anti-Israel protests; 17,000+ tweets of ‘Hitler was right’ and increase in antisemitic incident reports,” the ADL concluded.
Videos of anti-Semitic hate crimes across the country, including one in which a Jewish man is chased by assailants in a truck flying Palestinian flags and another where a Jewish teenager is kicked by a mob of a dozen people, both filmed in New York City, are even more revealing.
Anti-Semitism on the progressive left, in the fringes of the Palestinian liberation movement, is something European Jews have been warning their American counterparts about for some time.
It is also something former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tried, and failed, to come to terms with before anti-Semitism sunk the party, and Corbyn’s political career in 2020.
“We must also face the uncomfortable fact that a small number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes, which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively,” Corbyn admitted in a London Evening Standard op-ed published 24 April 2018.
Corbyn specifically acknowledged that, “individuals on the fringes of the movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people can stray into anti-Semitic views.”
“Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler was misunderstood,” specified Corbyn of Labour’s struggles with anti-Semitism.
Now, these scenes have become commonplace across the pond as well, with anti-Semitic placards carried through U.S. streets even as violence against American Jews continues to escalate.
Nor are the citizens of major cities like New York, Jewish or otherwise, likely to feel a great deal of confidence in their leaders to stem this most recent crime wave linked to anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitic attacks haven’t been the only violence people in New York and other large cities have been forced to endure over the past month. The rate of violent crime in most major cities continues to skyrocket to levels not seen since the bad old days of the early 1990's.
In Brooklyn over the weekend, a Federal Prosecutor was hit in the eye by a stray bullet after a fight escalated between two nearby rival gang members. Another innocent bystander was shot in the foot. Recently, a mother and her young daughter were shot in Times Square, on the heels of the announcement of a multimillion dollar ad campaign to bring tourists back to the city.
As of May 16, there had been 490 shootings in New York City, compared to 270 at the same point last year. Other violent crimes are on the rise as well.
New York City is hardly alone in this deadly new club. Chicago continues to set new records for violent crime; as does Portland, San Francisco and a dozen other major cities.
In London over the weekend, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist was shot in the head during a shooting believed to be unrelated to her work in the movement. As she was attending a house party over the weekend, four assailants being sought by British authorities allegedly entered the house and opened fire.
Just today, reporters broadcasting live from George Floyd Memorial Square in Minneapolis were forced to take cover when a barrage of shots rang out.
It is an occurrence residents in the area are growing only too familiar with.
Minneapolis, desperately short-staffed on police officers after efforts by the city council to defund the local police department, is currently trying desperately to recruit help from nearby law enforcement agencies to curb an ongoing surge in violent crime.
Other cities, such as New York, have taken similar measures against their police departments in the previous year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these cities are now seeing a crisis in law enforcement recruiting and retention.
Officers from Portland to New York are leaving the force, transferring to smaller cities for lower pay, and taking early retirement. Soon, progressive city councils won’t need to defund the police; the police will have defunded themselves through attrition.
City governments haven’t been able to stem this crime wave in over a year- to say nothing of places where nightly rioting is still an ongoing threat and business owners in downtown areas can no longer get commercial insurance.
How do officials plan to protect Jewish neighborhoods, Synagogues and community centers from this threat?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)