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