Understanding New York City’s Growing Anti-Semitism Problem

March 30 2022

According to recent data from the New York Police Department, 56 hate crimes were committed against Jews in the city in February 2022—a five-fold increase from this time last year. These include incidents of physical violence, vandalism, and harassment. Robert Cherry argues that civil-rights groups have failed to respond adequately to these acts, and further contends that when such groups do respond, they reflexively, often mistakenly, attribute all anti-Semitic crimes to white-supremacist movements.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City have recently increased by 409 percent, representing more than half of all hate crimes citywide. Many of these incidents targeted Orthodox people dressed in distinctive clothing, like the Jewish man who was punched in the Bedford Stuyvesant [neighborhood of Brooklyn] on February 7 while walking on Shabbat, for which a fifteen-year-old was charged with assault and committing a hate crime. Yet it has not led civil-rights organizations to act, unless they can connect these attacks to right-wing extremists or white supremacists, even when the evidence does not support such a link.

These organizations focus on instances of right-wing anti-Semitic propaganda rather than on those who are committing actual anti-Semitic hate crimes. For example, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently issued a report, “White Supremacist Propaganda Continues to Remain at Historic Levels in 2021.” It highlighted flyers posted by three obscure white-supremacist groups in New England, none of which were responsible for any other anti-Semitic acts.

A similar instance occurred when New York anti-Semitic assaults jumped two years earlier. Then-New York Mayor Bill de Blasio repeatedly insisted that the attacks were driven by a white-supremacist movement connected to Donald Trump, and a report by the ADL on the spike in anti-Semitic assaults in New York followed de Blasio’s lead. As the reporter Armin Rosen pointed out, these spurious suggestions were made “despite clear evidence that . . . many of the attacks are being carried out by people of color with no ties to the politics of white supremacy.” Indeed, FBI statistics demonstrate that black Americans are disproportionately perpetrators of hate-crime attacks on other groups, including Asian Americans.

Not only do many civil rights organizations ignore any focus on hate-crime perpetrators, but they also shy away from confronting campus anti-Semitism that goes under the guise of anti-Zionism.

Read more at RealClear Religion

More about: ADL, Anti-Semitism, New York City

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad