By Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, American Thinker
“Orthodox Jewish man assaulted in Brooklyn.”
This headline has become the norm these days, as recent attacks on Jews in their New York City neighborhoods have become increasingly common and quite numerous.
NYC mayor Bill de Blasio blames this uptick in anti-Semitism on right-wing ideologies. But considering that the attackers are uniformly black and Hispanic, the mayor seems to be a bit off, to put it kindly. (Furthermore, judging from the videos — such as this, this, and this — I would not bet on the attackers having any ideology, much less knowing what the word even means.)
Aside from the fact that the issue is not being given any attention by the usual human-rights groups, who do not hesitate to fly to the U.S. southern border in order to find hints of abuse and discrimination against migrants housed in federal government facilities, but who do not seem to care when conservative-voting Jews in New York City are bloodily battered, those who reject de Blasio’s sorely misinformed spin on the issue are likewise without answers.
I am far from one to whitewash or dismiss anti-Semitism, but I think many people in this case are barking up the wrong tree.
Anyone who lives in New York City is aware of the stark deterioration over the past several years — namely, since de Blasio became mayor. Homeless people and panhandlers are all over the place; everywhere one walks, you smell marijuana and urine (if not worse); vagrants (often deranged) loom large in the subways; shootings in “rough neighborhoods” are reported with extreme frequency; public parks are again populated by drunks and druggies; and a palpable decline in quality of life is perceived throughout the city.
The recent assaults on Brooklyn Jews have not been accompanied by anti-Semitic flyers or hate blog posts on the part of the attackers; none of these hoodlums is a known member of the Nation of Islam or the racist and anti-Semitic Black Hebrew Israelite movement. The attackers rarely, if at all, mouth anti-Semitic words during their vicious and savage deeds.
Rather, these assaults are not so much a reflection of growing anti-Semitism as they are the direct result of growing lawlessness in the streets of New York. When thugs are in effect set loose, knowing that the mayor refuses to crack down on crime and has handcuffed the police, they go after easy targets, such as conspicuous Orthodox Jews. Of course, everything is in God’s hands and is part of a larger plan, but to label this trend as an anti-Semitic scheme, rather than the symptom of a city whose safety and quality of life are actively deteriorating under “progressive” policies that have seen the decriminalization of many offenses and a misguided approach to public well-being, is nothing short of delusional.
De Blasio has stated many times that he seeks to reverse the policies of his predecessors, Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. De Blasio’s accomplishments are few, but he has indeed succeeded in undoing much of what was achieved in the two decades before he was sworn into office.
The Talmud teaches that one who is merciful to the cruel is in effect cruel to those who are merciful and decent. By handing the keys of the city to the hoodlums, de Blasio has manifested a sense of cruelty to those who seek to protect and to those who need and deserve to be protected.
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer serves on the editorial board of Jewish Action magazine, is a staff writer for the Cross-Currents website, and is a frequent contributor to Israel National News and a host of other publications. He is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and the New York Bar, and he is also a senior rabbinic fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values.