With extra points for hypocrisy to add to his obvious anti-Semitism, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a blight on what used to be one of the greatest cities in the world. It is nearly impossible to understand why residents of this diverse and allegedly liberal city tolerate his behavior toward the Hasidic Jewish community.
Throughout the pandemic, de Blasio has targeted this community with unique vigor. In May, he sent officers to break up outdoor funerals for rabbis where the mourners were masked. In one case, he oversaw the interruption himself, traveling to the Brooklyn neighborhood in question.
Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. 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.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
He later referred to these remarks as “tough love.” Then in June, he had officers clear parks in the same community. Dispersal was not enough, and the mayor had the gate to the park padlocked. This came after the entire administration had taken a hands-off approach to massive protests and rioting in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Thousands of people flooded the city streets at all hours of the day and night while Mayor de Blasio told the NYPD to stand down.
When confronted about this obvious hypocrisy at a press conference, de Blasio responded:
De Blasio responded to a question posed at a news conference Thursday morning by Reuvain Borchardt, a reporter for Hamodia.
“How does it promote equality, Mr. Mayor,” Borchardt asked, “when protestors, who have already had nearly two weeks to be out in the street, are continually allowed to gather, while families – many are large families living in very small apartments, who have been shut in for months, and want to enjoy a hot summer day, are being expelled?
De Blasio said he understood the frustration of large Hasidic families trying to find ways to entertain their children, but said that the health risks were too great to allow crowding in the parks.
“We had to get to the point of saying, look, out of an abundance of caution, the playgrounds just created too much of a risk to families, of the spread of the disease,” he said. “The last thing you want, or anyone wants, is a resurgence of this disease that then will lead to the restrictions being once again put back in place.”
And now, restrictions are being put back in place. Surprise surprise, the impacted zip codes are largely Jewish communities. Even Governor Andrew Cuomo jumped on the bandwagon, actually scapegoating the community for new cases of the virus. Even more appalling, the governor apparently used pictures from a rabbi’s funeral in 2006 to make his point. Then he said he would close the synagogues if the Orthodox community did not comply with new restrictions:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, 'If you're not willing to live with these rules, then I'm going to close the synagogues.'" pic.twitter.com/QWOPvZMbFI
— The Hill (@thehill) October 5, 2020
All of this is happening because the positivity rate for COVID-19 is 3% of all tests. As The New York Times reported, a positive test does not indicate illness or transmissibility in a large number of cases. New restrictions at this positivity level seem to be unnecessary, to say the least.
So the Jewish community expressed their frustration last night. The Hasidic community is having their businesses and schools closed again, and worship services are limited to 10 people. They lit a rubbish fire in an intersection and surrounded and knocked down a photographer. There was no looting or burning down buildings. There were a lot of angry people demanding their First Amendment right to worship and freedom to keep their businesses open.
Regarding the protest, de Blasio had this to say:
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday vowed not to tolerate violent unrest over the state’s new round of coronavirus restrictions — the morning after Hasidic protesters in Brooklyn set a fire and attacked a photographer without any apparent NYPD action.
“The NYPD will not tolerate people doing harm to others. There will be no tolerance for setting fires,” said de Blasio in his daily press briefing. “If anyone commits an act of assault, of course there will be consequences.”
Really, Wilhelm? You stood idly by for weeks while rioters and looters destroyed your city. Then you allowed the NYPD Anti-Crime Unit to be disbanded, unleashing a crime wave and rising murder rates. Murders are going unsolved. Thousands of businesses will never reopen. Many are wondering if New York City will ever come back and people are fleeing to safer, freer places.
Mayor de Blasio went on to say rolling lockdowns are “an emerging new reality.” Weird, they aren’t happening in the Sunbelt and Governor Ron DeSantis has said Florida will never lock down again. The Department of Justice is backing churches fighting onerous restrictions and the lawsuits in New York really need to start flying.
The uneven handling of the Jewish community and rioters in New York City is appalling and blatantly anti-Semitic on its face. It has been going on for months and New Yorkers of good conscience need to start calling it out. More important, Mayor de Blasio should be relieved of his office at the next election if not sooner.