A New York Town Fights to Keep Hasidic Jews Out

Aug. 16 2019

In 2017, a group of real-estate developers bought a plot of land in the town of Chester, in New York’s Hudson Valley, that had been designated for a new housing development. Since then, the town’s residents and officials have fought to stop the houses from being built, stating quite bluntly that they fear it will become a ḥasidic enclave—a concern based solely on the fact that some of the developers are themselves Ḥasidim. Sharon Otterman writes:

Town officials have repeatedly placed obstacles in the developers’ path: restrictions on the size of the houses they can build, delays on issuing building permits, and a request to relocate the main road by ten feet. . . . Angry residents at [a town] meeting talked of how school taxes could rise, and public resources could be stretched in the town. . . . They spoke of fears that the development would one day resemble Kiryas Joel, a ḥasidic village about nine miles away that is overcrowded and has ranked among the poorest communities in the nation.

The developers . . . cite these statements and others in a federal lawsuit that accuses the town, Orange County, and individual local officials of discrimination. . . . The Orange County executive, Steven M. Neuhaus, a Chester resident and its former town supervisor, suggested delay tactics, including retesting the water and denying sewer permitting, at a meeting a month earlier. . . .

“If you show up to a public hearing, you can hear what the voters are saying, which is ‘keep the ḥasidic [sic] out,’” said John Petroccione, the civil engineer who designed the project 25 years ago, and is working with the developers to complete it. . . .

“[N]obody on the board, . . . nobody who works in the town, . . . nobody wants this development to go through,” Alexander Jamieson, the former town supervisor of Chester, said at a public meeting in May 2018. . . . Jamieson, who resigned as town supervisor last September after pleading guilty to collecting unemployment while working in that role, also stood by his comments. “It’s not anti-Semitic to say it’s going to be a ḥasidic development,” he said in an interview near the site. “I’m just telling the truth.”

Read more at New York Times

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Hasidim

The Palestinian Prime Minister Rails against Peace at the Council of Foreign Relations

On November 17, the Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations, America’s most prestigious and influential foreign-policy institution. While there, Shtayyeh took the opportunity to lambast Arab states for making peace with Israel. Dore Gold comments:

[Perhaps Shtayyeh] would prefer that Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates declare the end of their conflicts with Israel only after all Palestinian political demands are met; however, he refused to recognize that Arab states have a right to defend their vital interests.

Since 1948, they had suspended these rights for the sake of the Palestinian cause. What Shtayyeh ultimately wants is for the Palestinians to continue to hold their past veto power over the Arab world. Essentially, he wants the Arabs to be [like the] Iranians, who supply Palestinian organizations like Hamas with weapons and money while taking the most extreme positions against peace. What the Arabs have begun to say this year is that this option is no longer on the table.

Frankly, the cracks in the Palestinian veto of peace that appeared in 2020 are undeniable. Shtayyeh is unprepared to answer why. The story of that split began with the fact that the response of the Palestinian leadership to every proposal for peace since the 2000 Camp David Summit with President Clinton has been a loud but consistent “No.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian Authority, U.S. Foreign policy