New York City’s Mayor Welds Shut the Gates of Parks—but Only in Jewish Neighborhoods

Less than two months after using Twitter to reprimand the Jewish community for violations of social-distancing regulations at a ḥasidic funeral—which occurred with permission from municipal authorities—New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered that the gates of public parks be welded shut, ostensibly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But most of these parks were in neighborhoods with large populations of Orthodox Jews, while parks in other areas were left open to the public. This act of discrimination, writes Eliezer Brand, comes on the heels of many insults to the city’s Ḥaredim:

Last week, for example, the New York Police Department was largely absent as stores across the city were being burned and looted during protests. Yet they somehow had plenty of units available to chase Jewish mothers out of the city’s parks with their kids in tow. It was a stunning double standard, doubly insulting after de Blasio allowed and even participated in the massive protests. Thousands and thousands of New Yorkers marching in the streets was fine for de Blasio, but a few dozen ḥasidic mothers in a park was too much to bear.

De Blasio, indeed, was photographed at the protests without wearing a mask. Moreover, Brand notes, his callousness toward Orthodox Jews was evident even before the pandemic:

All of last year, the mayor failed to do anything about the daily anti-Semitic attacks that occurred across the city—and this not for lack of being asked. . . . Only when Jews were murdered in New Jersey and Rockland County and there was a national spotlight on the issue did de Blasio acquiesce and temporarily increase patrols. And after the media attention went away, so did the extra police patrols, though of course now they are back—to break up ḥasidic funerals.

Read more at Forward

More about: anti-Semitsm, Bill de Blasio, Coronavirus, Hasidim, New York City


Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security