Photo Credit: Dan DeLuca via Flickr

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, which is usually engaged in representing Jewish victims of Arab terror states, has embarked on a new crusade, borne by the move to eradicated the hateful past of the American South by toppling statues of Confederacy generals and politicians. As befits a Jewish person, while folks down south seek to revise the past 160 years or so, dating back to the start of the Civil War, Darshan-Leitner wants to paint over, or rather pull down 370 years of New York City history, going back to 1647, when the Dutch governor of New Amsterdam Peter Stuyvesant was making himself a reputation as a major Jew hater.

Stuyvesant, who ruled Manhattan island from 1647 until the English took over in 1664, refused to allow Jewish refugees from Brazil to settle permanently in New Amsterdam and join the local Jewish community. Stuyvesant ran a clandestine campaign to help Jews “in a friendly way to depart” his colony. As he put it in a letter to the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch West India Company in 1654, he saw it as his mission to make sure that “the deceitful race — such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ — be not allowed to further infect and trouble this new colony.” He called Jews a “repugnant race” and “usurers,” and advocated that “Jewish settlers should not be granted the same liberties enjoyed by Jews in Holland, lest members of other persecuted minority groups, such as Roman Catholics, be attracted to the colony.”

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In other words, he hated Jews almost as much as he hated Catholicas…

According to the NY Post, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is now campaigning to have NY Mayor Bill de Blasio remove the memory of the anti-Semitic Dutch governor from the city property: Statues, Street names, perhaps the gigantic co-op community on the upper Lower East Side, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and, naturally, Stuyvesant High School. They are all, according to Darshan-Leitner, just “symbols or hate.”

“Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told the Post. “New York, of all American cities, which boasts such important Jewish history and claims such a present day vibrant Jewish community, should take the lead in denouncing Stuyvesant’s bigotry.”

Obviously, if we were to obliterate from our civic and cultural environment the memory and works of every gentile person of note who hates Jews, we’d be left with a very short list of “allowables.” Also, as a spokesperson for the New Netherlands Institute put it, Darshan-Leitner’s idea is “ridiculous” because Stuyvesant reflected very common, even fundamental beliefs of 17th Century European culture. We should add that Stuyvesant’s New Amsterdam was by far more hospitable to Brazilian Jews than the Brazilian Inquisition they were all fleeing.

Judging historical figures according to our most current social mores is probably politically beneficial (you won’t believe how many Facebook posts have pointed out it was the Democrats who committed the most outrageous crimes against African Americans in the South – completely ignoring Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” which flipped those Dixiecrats into Republicans in less than half a decade, following President Johnson Great Society legislation). But although it could be argued that Confederacy statues and flags are causing needless pain to African Americans, and so should be removed from sanctioned, official displays – there is not a single Jew alive who today passes a statue of Peter Stuyvesant and bursts into tears in memory of those Brazilian Jews who had to endure life as second class citizens in Manhattan for a few years.

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