Here’s what’s been happening in New York City over the past year: Jews who are visibly Jewish have been getting assaulted in record numbers.
We’ve seen numerous videos of these assaults, in which a bearded man in a yarmulke is smashed in the head or knocked down or otherwise physically set upon by one or two African-American men.
We’ve also seen videos like the one in which Rabbi Uriel Vigler took care to photograph the menacing conduct of a man who followed him along an Upper East Side street, taunting him and then calling him the “devil” as he fled once Vigler pointed him out to the security guard at his synagogue.
Don’t worry, says our mayor — the real danger Jews face is from the right wing.
Speaking at a press conference in Brooklyn about the crime stats, Bill de Blasio said this: “I want to be very, very clear — the violent threat, the threat that is ideological, is very much from the right.”
He also offered an offensively potted history of anti-Semitism: “I think we could all agree, I think we can put the Nazis and the fascists on the right side of the spectrum, and they are the ultimate, unfortunately in this world history. And I’m saying . . . I said this in Paris after the first attacks — do you think that these right-wing movements in Europe are not connected to their predecessors?”
No rational person would argue that Jew-hatred has not been and does not continue to be a feature of the extreme right. It is, as the lone monsters who staged the assaults on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue and the Chabad House in Poway, Calif., made clear in their Internet postings.
But no person other than a fool — a blighted fool, an embarrassing fool, a blithering fool — would simply erase left-wing anti-Semitism and Muslim anti-Semitism and act like they didn’t and don’t exist.
The Soviet Union was an institutionally anti-Semitic regime, as were most of its satellites and puppets before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Left-wing populist governments after the fall, like Argentina and Venezuela, engaged in openly anti-Semitic efforts against their small Jewish communities — using them to rally support by harnessing the world’s oldest hatred against them. These efforts led to firebombings, assassinations, property destruction and self-exile.
The earliest and most dedicated Palestinian nationalists, who vowed to throw the Jewish people into the sea, were not Islamists but secular radicals like Yassir Arafat and George Habash, a Marxist-Leninist whose particular specialty was hijacking planes.
The 2015 anti-Semitic attacks in Paris, to which de Blasio bizarrely alluded, weren’t staged by right-wing Europeans following in the footsteps of the Nazis.
They were attacks by Muslims who had aligned themselves with the Islamic State.
Britain’s left-wing Labour Party has been taken over by Jeremy Corbyn, who has spent his career praising groups like Hezbollah and Hamas and speaking of Israel in the cadences of a classic anti-Semite.
Here in New York City, there have been 110 anti-Semitic hate crimes this year out of 164 such crimes in total. Not a one of them, so far as I can tell, was committed by a man in a MAGA hat.
De Blasio spoke commendably at the same press conference about how the Jew-hatred of the present moment makes the existence of the Jewish state a matter of vital importance.
“To have a place that is a refuge for the Jewish people is absolutely necessary,” he said. “I believe 100% in protecting the state of Israel, and I believe that the BDS movement — very misguided — is undermining the economy and the existence and the survival of the state of Israel.”
But to speak as though the progressivism he claims to represent has nothing for which it needs to account when it comes to the rise of anti-Semitic acts is, quite simply, an act of shameful ideological whitewashing on the mayor’s part.
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