Dolt de Blasio has never cared about the city’s Jews. Now he’s scapegoating us.
Well, it’s happened. Who would have guessed that appointing his unqualified wife to head an inane COVID relief taskforce wouldn’t be the worst thing he did that day? Just when you thought Bill de Blasio couldn’t be any worse of a mayor, he goes out and says something so egregious that he got hammered by almost everyone, ally and foe alike. On April 28, de Blasio tweeted, “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities is simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
The obvious problem here is not the message to stop gathering in groups, it is the singling out of the Jewish community for their behavior.
This tweet came after a heavily-attended funeral in Williamsburg. Now, it would be warranted to issue a blanket warning to all of New York City. It would also be warranted to issue a direct warning to those who perpetrated the act of assembly. However, it is a completely different - and frankly anti-Semitic - tact to issue a public statement directed at the entire Jewish community in New York City. It’s that much worse when you consider that the synagogue had coordinated with the mayor’s office and the NYPD to hold the funeral in the first place.
Now let me address an elephant in the room. Those of you who follow me on social media know that right after the tweet, I commented, “When you go from mayor to fuhrer in one tweet.” Having had some time to reflect - no, I do not believe that the mayor is the next coming of Hitler, and I do apologize for making that comparison. However, it is not arguable that this language perpetuates the worst feelings for Jews that exist. Immediately after the tweet, “Hasidic,” “Jewish,” and “Jews” were all trending on Twitter, and as Buzzfeed’s Matt Berman pointed out, “In case you have doubts on this point, it has never in recorded history been good news for Jews when ‘Jews’ is trending.” So while this does not make de Blasio the de-facto head of the Jew-haters, he is definitely giving anti-Semites something to go on.
One would think someone like de Blasio would understand that he is the mayor of the city with the most Jews outside of Israel itself, and also the mayor of the city with the most anti-Semitic attacks in the world. One would also think that such a mayor would do the utmost to protect the Jewish community after claiming that he would do so. However, you’d obviously be wrong on both accounts. De Blasio does not care about his Jewish constituents. He has proven that time and time again. Who can forget when he claimed that “the ideological movement that is anti-Semitic is the right-wing movement,” while completely dismissing the idea that any left-winger could be anti-Semitic? All this time, being in charge of the city with the most acts of violence and hate perpetuated against Jews in the world, a city that voted for Hilary Clinton over Donald Trump by an 89-10 margin.
This is also the mayor who tweeted following the Jersey City attacks, “This tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent anti-Semitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation. And now this threat has reached the doorstep of New York City.” The doorstep? Mr. Mayor, with all due respect, what the heck are you talking about? Anti-Semitism isn’t on the doorstep of New York City. New York City is the epicenter of anti-Semitism, and you are in charge. Your failure to act on the countless acts of anti-Semitism in your city is what allows it to grow. Your belief that anti-Semitism is strictly a right-wing construct willfully blinds you to the fact that the largest group perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts in your city are minorities, and because they aren’t White Supremacists, they get a pass from you.
De Blasio’s tweet was not simply a poorly-worded critique that was a one-time mistake. His tweet was the culmination of a string of public statements he has made over his tenure as mayor. Until now, his bias against the Jewish community has been that he has looked the other way when those who attack Jews aren’t white. Now, it is plainly obvious that he is giving permission for people to take matters into their own hands. Anti-Semites can take de Blasio’s words and construe them to mean that attacking Jews is for the public good. After all, the Jewish community is gathering en masse, which is against public policy. They are endangering the lives of everyone, and must be stopped. The Mayor of New York City has effectively green-lit hate crimes against Jews.
And just in case you were under the impression that de Blasio was worried about the effect of his statements, his so-called “apology” should put that thought to bed. In a press conference the following day, de Blasio stated, “If in my passion and in my emotion, I said something that in any way was hurtful, I’m sorry about that. That was not my intention. But I also want to be clear: I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying we’re going to deal with it very, very aggressively.” That was his apology. I’m sorry people got their feelings hurt. Could you possibly remove yourself from blame any more than that? What I said was totally fine, and could have absolutely no ramifications, but it seems like some people who were offended by my words, and those people shouldn’t take it so personally.
No, you blathering idiot; at best you don’t understand what you did wrong, or, based on everything you’ve ever said about the Jewish community until this point, you are willfully ignoring anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes, and do not care about the ramifications. Forget just anti-Semitic tropes, any racism gets its start by looking at the actions of a select few individuals and attributing them to a broad swath of people. De Blasio didn’t just call out a certain group of chasidim, chasidim in general, or even orthodox Jews in general. He called out the entire Jewish community of New York City. The majority of Jews in New York City aren’t even orthodox, and he just lumped all Jews together as perpetrators.
Of course, this hardline, no-nonsense, tough on crime version of de Blasio is a stark contrast to the mayor who let criminals out of prison just because he wanted to. This is the same mayor who had the police force of New York literally turn their collective backs to him after the shooting of two NYPD officers due to rhetoric and his lax crime policy. He didn’t seem too keen on enforcing laws or convictions that negatively affected people before, but I love that he’s taking this opportunity to flex his muscle to threaten Jews who stand too close to each other. This is the political hill de Blasio wants to die on. Nothing could surprise me more from the worst mayor this city has ever known.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.