News & Politics

RESIST de Blasio: Orthodox Jews 'Liberate' NYC Playground in Provocative Move

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, walks the practice courts with officials at the USTA Indoor Training Center where a 350-bed temporary hospital will be built Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Just one day after a Jewish NYC lawmaker promised to “cut off the chains” to reopen the city’s playgrounds, three members of an informal #RESIST group did just that.

On Sunday, State Sen. Simcha Felder “slammed” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio — both Democrats — for refusing to re-open playgrounds in Jewish neighborhoods.

Then on Monday, the Daily News reported that “members of the Orthodox Jewish community used bolt cutters to ‘liberate’ a Brooklyn playground the city welded shut.”

The gate had been welded shut by city workers after 25 previous #RESISTANCE acts of cutting chains that had closed the playground to NYC kids, predominantly Jewish.

ASIDE: I’ve liberated the #RESIST tag from the Left because this is what real resistance to genuinely arbitrary authority looks like.

De Blasio had resisted reopening playgrounds on so-called “public safety” concerns about COVID-19, while at the same time allowing — and even encouraging — demonstrations like this one:

RESIST de Blasio

A City Parks spokesweasel warned on Monday night, “Playgrounds across the City are closed for the safety of our children,” but that isn’t exactly true.

Orthodox Jewish Resistance to de Blasio

The Daily Wire reported that Felder accused de Blasio of “‘catering’ to donors and supporters by allowing playgrounds to remain open in some city districts, while chaining and welding gates shut in others.”

Felder argued that opening NYC playgrounds is a matter of public safety: “The kids are playing with each other, they are playing in the street, they are playing in unsafe conditions instead of having the playgrounds open.”

This isn’t exactly de Blasio’s first controversy involving NYC’s Orthodox Jewish community.

#RESIST: Bill de Blasio Goes After NYC Jews Refusing His Orders

Back in May, de Blasio issued a Cease and Desist order closing down the city’s Jewish day schools, an official act more difficult to #RESIST with a simple set of bolt cutters. Again, de Blasio cited public health concerns, even though the CDC’s own report doesn’t support shutting down schools.

As I reported to you at the time:

De Blasio talks about keeping “kids safe,” despite acknowledging himself on a recent news appearance that the Wuhan virus is a threat mostly to people in their 70s and 80s. Here’s the clip, along with some Twitter reaction.

And that came just three weeks after de Blasio had ordered police to arrest Jewish mourners at the funeral of a beloved NYC Rabbi, Chaim Mertz.

De Blasio said then, “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.”

Unlike, say, an anti-police protest, the Orthodox mourners were seen wearing masks and whenever possible following social-distancing guidelines.

The unofficial Jewish #RESIST movement against de Blasio’s seeming bigotry escalated even further on Monday with a new civil rights lawsuit, just filed against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General Letitia James, along with de Blasio in federal court.

The NYC-based Algemeiner reports that the “lawsuit accuses the three top officials of an apparent double standard as it pertains to allowing protesters to exercise their First Amendment [rights] over the death of George Floyd.”

With plenty of evidence to back it up, the suit also claims that “Favored businesses, entities and activities, as well as favored mass demonstrations such as those over the death of George Floyd, are totally exempt from the challenged gathering limits.”

This, the suit says, “unduly burdens plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Howard Slugh, who founded and serves as general counsel for the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, said:

The Free Exercise Clause, at a minimum, means that religious adherents cannot be treated worse than their neighbors unless the government has a compelling need to do so… New York may face a difficult burden in proving that it can meet that standard.

NYC’s Orthodox Jews tend to be some of the city’s most conservative voters and have acted as perhaps the strongest #RESIST movement against NYC’s arbitrary and capricious enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions.

Lockdown Fever: CDC Warning of Coronavirus Shutdown #2