A few weeks ago, the 107th precinct held a synagogue security meeting for all of Queens South. The meeting was chaired by Queens South commander David Barrere and included numerous police officials and officers. Many fine members of the Jewish community from our area to Far Rockaway were in the audience. Our representatives, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilman Rory Lancman, sat at the head table.
The conversation focused, for the most part, on security issues facing our community. At one point, Yaakov Serle asked the panel what they thought about the new no-bail policy adopted by the Democratic-controlled State Assembly and the City Council, which allows most criminals in New York to be set free by the judge. In addition, the judge cannot be given a record of previous offenses by the culprit, even if he committed the same crime three times that day. And this happens time and time again. In my opinion, the recent spree of petty anti-Semitic attacks that gave way to the Monsey stabbings can all be laid at the door of this ignoble bill. It is pure insanity. There is no other way to describe it.
Now, I really like Joe Addabbo. He’s a good guy. But his response to Yaakov was hugely disappointing. He said that we need not worry, because changes will be made to assure that violent criminals will not go without bail imposed. (I’m wondering: What about a guy like Harvey Weinstein? Should he go bail-free? After all, he is not a violent criminal.)
I raised my hand and addressed the good senator, and I told him that assuring that only violent criminals will have bail set gives me no comfort. I want the guy who is caught flicking me in my ear to be arrested for assault and held pending bail. I went on to say that Rudy Giuliani reversed all the crime trends by arresting the aggressive squeegee washers and window breakers. He nipped crime in its very bud. Now we are bringing back the bad old days. Joe had no response and neither did Rory, a good friend and very helpful representative, but a major proponent of this ill-advised legislation. The crowd reacted with an unexpected ovation for my words. In fact, a week later, a prominent officer in the 107 called me to thank me for speaking up, something that the police cannot do.
Worried about the poor criminals not being able to afford bail? I have a novel idea: Tell them not to commit crime!
Guess what? There is now a huge uptick in crime across the city in every category from car theft to assaults. I’m talking about 30-70 percent! Reaction of our locals? There is no evidence that the uptick in crime has anything to do with the no-bail legislation. I’m glad they are lawyer-trained politicians and not police officers. Can you imagine a detective brushing aside obvious evidence right in front of his face?!
Even more absurd was that Queens Borough President candidate Donavan Richards tried making objection to this bill a racist issue. On February 7, Richards tweeted: “Anytime structural racism is tore (sic) down it results in people spreading falsehoods. While we share concerns with the @NYPDShea on spikes in crime in some categories it is premature to blame bail reform @RoryLancman @Carlheastie.”
I have a question for Mr. Richards: Why do you associate crime and the need for bail reform with a race? Isn’t that the biggest form of racism right there? Now we find out that even Mayor de Blasio is forced to admit that the boom in crime is indeed associated with the no-bail reform. Does that make the mayor a racist? Huh?
We live in an era where the left has gone completely mad. Reason is out the window. Men are women and women are men or the combination of both or neither. Infanticide is celebrated in the New York State Legislature. To call somebody a name is uncivil, but to tear up a State of The Union speech of a US president is “being nice, considering what he deserved.” For a Republican presidential candidate to mock a female candidate’s looks is horrifying (and it is), but for a current Democrat candidate to refer to a female questioner as a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” is acceptable.
The madness spreads to Israel, as well. Just last week, former Israeli prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced he plans to meet with Mahmud Abbas in the UN shortly to try to subvert the Trump Peace Plan and cook up something on his own. Olmert spent his most productive years out of harm’s way in prison, due to corruption charges. Now he’s graduated to treason. This is normal?
Complete insanity. So it is with the leftist Jews in America. The elections for the WZO, taking place here shortly, allow for Jews in the diaspora to participate via the WZO and determine where and how millions of shekalim will be appropriated. The details are for a separate article. But if you look at the Reform and J Street platform, you will see that it is right out of some Palestinian playbook: Israel is the aggressor, Israeli soldiers are bigots, settlements must be stopped, etc., etc.
My plea is to our local activists: Please speak up! Even if you are supportive of a particular candidate, hold his or her feet to the fire on the no-bail issue. Our entire quality of life depends on it. Please try to arrange for a mass rally on the steps of the DA’s office, where the new DA Melinda Katz has announced her support of this anarchy-creating bill. I know all of the politicians on a personal level, and I have received many favors from them for our shul and community. But I am a rabbi and not a politician, so I need to voice my opinion on behalf of the community, even if it will cost me political points. I hope the political activists will do the same.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.