A New York Suburb Uses Zoning to Keep Jews Out

Dec. 26 2018

Even before its formal incorporation as a municipality, the town of Airmont in Rockland County, New York has sought to keep Orthodox Jews from moving in by manipulating its zoning laws to make their lives difficult. Hiram Sasser, who has represented local Jews’ anti-discrimination claims in court, writes:

Airmont was born in bigotry. In the mid-1980s, an organization called the Airmont Civic Association (ACA) pushed for [its] incorporation, which came in 1991. Almost immediately, the federal government filed suit against the new town, alleging it had been formed for the purpose of excluding Jewish citizens through zoning restrictions on their places of worship.

In 1987, legal testimony revealed that ACA’s original president, James Filenbaum, had openly stated that “the reason [for] forming this village is to keep people like you out of this neighborhood.” He was directing his comments toward Jews.

Over the past several months, attorneys . . . who have been investigating claims of discrimination by Airmont’s Orthodox Jewish residents confirmed that, indeed, village officials are up to their intolerant tricks again. In fact, their zoning ordinances, approval process, and associated fines are so egregious, it will likely take multiple lawsuits to sort through them fully. . . .

One, filed this week, seeks to recover the thousands [of dollars] rabbis have spent trying to get permission to pray with others in their own home, along with punitive damages to prevent this [kind of discrimination] from happening again. The other, filed late last month, seeks $25 million in damages from the village for the discriminatory impact its zoning scheme has had on the local school. . . . One rabbi even faced the prospect of a year in jail for simply welcoming his neighbors into his home for prayer.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Orthodoxy, Politics & Current Affairs

 

Distrust of the Supreme Court Led Likud Voters to Rally around Netanyahu

Jan. 17 2020

A few weeks ago, Benjamin Netanyahu handily won the Likud party’s primary election, receiving 72 percent of the votes. He won despite the fact that he is facing indictments on corruption charges that could interfere with his ability to govern if he remains Israel’s premier, and despite the credible challenge mounted by his opponent, Gideon Sa’ar. Evelyn Gordon credits the results not to love of Netanyahu but to resentment of Israel’s overweening Supreme Court:

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politics, Israeli Supreme Court