By Amy Zewe—
Over the past 2 years I have reported on the uptick of antisemitic violence and hate crimes against the Jewish communities of New York and New Jersey (and LA, Pittsburg, and other cities in North America). The result is, to a certain degree, a bit of awareness among the broader electorate that perhaps a problem exists.
We had a promising proclamation from Democratic NYC Mayoral candidate (and former presidential primary contender) Andrew Yang in that he, recently last month, included in his platform for his mayoral campaign an open and unabashed opposition to the BDS movement and organizations that support BDS. He has also been somewhat popular among the Jewish communities of NYC (historically, Jewish voters have been known to support Democrats). While Yang was celebrated for his brave and outspoken condemnation of the BDS movement and its activities, he is starting to waver a bit on his conviction. Having some open push back from Linda Sarsour, a voice who is quite influential in Democrat circles, Yang is now saying he is open to discussion and talk with Palestinian leaderships and organizations—even if they don’t specifically disavow BDS. Keep in mind that Sarsour is ardently anti-Israel and a supporter of BDS—along with many members of “The Squad” who are influential in the progressive side of the Democrat party.
Yang has been challenged by Sarsour and other pro-Palestinian activists upset over his comparison between the BDS movement and Nazism. A comparison that was applauded by many. Yang was challenged by pro-Palestinian activists on the issue while touring businesses in Brooklyn, N.Y. just a few weeks ago.
Sarsour questioned Yang at the mayoral forum, and later said of Yang’s comparison that it was a “stretch” to say BDS is similar to Nazi boycotts of Jewish businesses” (according to Politico).
In response to Sarsour’s challenge, Yang said: I’d be happy to sit with Palestinian leaders, activists, folks who are engaged in the issue. I am very eager to learn, I’m very open-minded, and I would appreciate the opportunity.”
I wonder what they could say to undo the evidence we have of what the BDS movement manifests?
NYC and the state of NY is in a bit of turmoil in the wake of COVID-19 handling and the ever-present feud between current mayor De Blasio and the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo. New Yorkers may be poised to vote in new leadership, and the likelihood that those leaders may be democrats is strong. Therefore, we should watch who is rising up the ranks of NY politics within the democrat party and New Yorkers need to be keenly aware of who their support and the level of conviction each candidate has for any given position. Flip flopping is not uncommon. Antisemitism in NYC and the surrounding areas is not abated in anyway under the current leadership and arguably has grown worse during the COVID-19 crisis.
NYC is home to Jewish communities dating back to colonial days. Generations of Jews and newly immigrated and naturalized Jews live in NYC. A city that has always prided itself as being diverse, eclectic, non-judgmental, and open-minded is not manifesting that personality as of late. NYC is a gateway city to the United States and its influence on the US as a whole and the world is great because it is such an admired city—one that is iconic in representing the American dream and the road to opportunity. Let’s make sure that dream and opportunity is authentic and secure for all and fighting antisemitism means also making sure it is not voted into office, nor are people who will allow it.
Shavua Tov and have a great week.