Twenty-Five Years after the Riots in Crown Heights, the Media Continue to Misunderstand

Aug. 22 2016

Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the outbreak of the Crown Heights riots, precipitated when a ḥasidic driver accidentally hit and killed a black child. The media at the time reported what was happening in the Brooklyn neighborhood as “clashes” between “gangs” of black and Jewish youths, when—as was made clear by the official New York State report—all of the violence was committed by African-Americans and directed against Jews. While relations between the two communities have fortunately improved, the media persist in misunderstanding the local dynamics. Mordechai Lightstone, himself a Ḥasid who has lived in the neighborhood for over ten years, writes:

Today Crown Heights has been designated as “ground zero for gentrification.” . . . Suddenly a community of working- and middle-class families, both Jewish and black, find themselves no longer able to afford housing in the neighborhood they call home. . . .

Yet this displacement has been completely ignored in the media. Not once has the Jewish community been mentioned in the discussion. And why should it be? The story has already been framed: hipsters move in, black people are displaced. . . . Yes, there are ḥasidic Jews, almost entirely not from Crown Heights, who are active in real-estate development. But even in their respective neighborhoods they make up only a tiny sliver of the community. Yet somehow ḥasidic Jews of all types—teachers, scribes, plumbers, online merchants, and small-business owners of all backgrounds—have been relegated to only one role: the [stereotypical] ḥasidic landlord.

Ḥasidim are cast into the anti-Semitic stereotypes of old when it comes to Brooklyn. They are the alien force that preys upon the innocent, ever present but always foreign.

Read more at Forward

More about: African Americans, Anti-Semitism, Brooklyn, Chabad, Hasidism, Jewish World, Media

Hamas Won’t Compromise with the Palestinian Authority, and Gazans Won’t Overthrow Hamas

July 24 2017

Since the terrorist organization Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, much of Israeli strategy toward it has stemmed from the belief that, if sufficient pressure is applied, the territory’s residents will rise up against it. Yaakov Amidror argues this is unlikely to happen, and he also doubts that improved living conditions for ordinary Gazans would deter Hamas from terrorism or war:

The hardships experienced by the Strip’s residents, no matter how terrible, will not drive them to stage a coup to topple Hamas. The organization is entrenched in Gaza and is notorious for its brutality toward any sign of dissidence, and the Palestinians know there is no viable alternative waiting for an opportunity to [take over].

[Therefore], it is time everyone got used to the idea that Hamas is not about to relinquish its dominant position in the Gaza Strip, let alone concede to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. . . . [Yet the] assumption is also baseless that if Gaza experiences economic stability and prosperity, Hamas would refrain from provoking hostilities. This misconception is based on the theory that Hamas operates by governmental norms and prioritizes the needs and welfare of its citizens. This logic does not apply to Hamas. . . .

[Hamas’s] priorities are to bolster its military power and cement its iron grip. This is why all the supplies Israel allows into Gaza on a daily basis to facilitate normal life have little chance of reaching the people. Hamas first and foremost takes care of its leaders and makes sure it has what it needs to sustain its terror-tunnel-digging enterprise and its weapon-production efforts. It then sees to the needs of its members, and then—and only then—what little is left is diverted to rehabilitation efforts that benefit the population.

This is why the argument that Israel is responsible for Gaza’s inability to recover from its plight is baseless. Hamas is the one that determines the priorities by which to allocate resources in the enclave, and the more construction materials that enter Gaza, the easier and faster it is for Hamas to restore its military capabilities. Should Israel sacrifice its own security on the altar of Gazans’ living conditions? I don’t think so.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security