Because this vibrant, sophisticated, diverse region preaches tolerance and acceptance…but it is accepting the oldest form of hate, and towards residents with the greatest longevity and contributions.
For over a century, New York City and its surrounding areas have been the pinnacle of many young persons’ dreams and aspirations. How many movies, songs, and biographies of those who achieved fame and fortune were about young folks dreaming of moving to NY and making it big?
New York was the landing platform for immigrants from all over Europe—English, Irish, Italian, Eastern European, and in later years Middle Eastern and other regions of the Mediterranean. But of all those flocks of national immigrants, among them have always been Jews. Jews found refuge, though not perfect, in the “colonies” and later states escaping persecution in both Western and Eastern Europe. After WWII, European Jews who survived the Holocaust dispersed again, many to the US, and thankfully, many to the newly formed Israel by 1948.
But New York has one of the longest histories of Jews residing with success and as significant contributors to the growth of the community economically, culturally, educationally, and more. Perhaps rivaled only by Charleston South Carolina, whose Jewish community dates to early colonial days.
So why then is NYC heating a cauldron of antisemitic activities? According to studies, antisemitic activities in North America, Canada, and Australia are on the rise, but NY seems to hold the record for overachievement in this demonic competition.
According to the ADL, Antisemitic incidents rose to 3,697 incidents throughout the country in 2022, a 36% rise from 2021. And most occurred in NYC.
Brooklyn is really the epicenter. Fifty-two of 111 assaults across the nation took place just in Brooklyn, one borough of New York City of a state with 62 counties. So very, very troubling.
Moreover, on college and university campuses in NY, antisemitism is active—most recently at NYU’s School of Law where an Israeli guest speaker was disrupted and demands to cancel the speech were not met, and at Columbia University—for which The New York Times then cheered them on as the faculty sought to boycott the school’s partnership with the University in Haifa (thankfully, more faculty signed the letter supporting the partnership than those did to disband it).
The list of antisemitic and anti-Zionist activities in NYC and its surrounding areas is continuous and exhaustive. From canceling open debate and discussion to vandalism, hostile assaults, and murder. These events are happening within the community at large as well as the institutes of higher learning. These trends are not exclusive to NYC, but the numbers are highly concentrated in NYC. (Lists of similar activities on college campuses coast to coast in the US are easily generated)
As a native New Yorker who grew up among the Jewish community and from which my love for these people and their history in part derives, I am officially ashamed and call out the hypocrisy of New Yorkers. I beg my friends and family still in NY, Christian, Jew, and others, to please stand up against this tide. Be the voice of truth and fairness. Take your sense of justice, tolerance, and diversity and please apply it to all people equally. Believe not the accusations of groups who hurl lies against Israel and Jews and investigate the history and the reality of Israel. Moreover, do not place the blame of perceived ills and problems in the middle east on the individuals in your midst, as this conforms to the very definition of antisemitism and demonstrates explicit prejudice and discrimination against a person based solely on ethnic or religious identity—which is what we are all supposed to be opposed do, is it not?
Shavua tov; have a great week.