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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘david dinkins’

Crown Heights Jews Remember: Prayers for Yankel Rosenbaum, z’l, Hope for Peace

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Exactly 25 years after a young Australian Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinic student was stabbed to death on a Brooklyn street for the crime of being Jewish, his brother, Professor Norman Rosenbaum returns to the site to recite prayers marking the attack.

Rosenbaum is to attend private memorial prayers at the scene of the attack on his brother, Yankel Rosenbaum, at 10 am Friday (Aug. 19) at Brooklyn Avenue and President Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Earlier this week the professor reunited with Carmel Cato ahead of the event to denounce violence of all forms, and to discuss healing between the two communities.

Cato’s son Gavin, 7, was struck and killed in 1991 while fixing his bike, by a car driven by a Jewish man that careened on to the sidewalk after being hit by a bus. His cousin Angela, also 7, was injured but survived.

The accident sparked three days of rioting in Crown Heights, between August 19-21. In less than an hour, mobs roamed through the streets, egged on by screaming anti-Semites who coined the battle cry, ‘No Justice, No Peace.’

Yankel Rosenbaum was the first casualty; an Italian man who was mistaken because he “looked like a Jew” was hauled out of his car next and beaten within an inch of his life. A bearded family man was chased down the street and into his apartment building, up the stairs and trapped against a wall, where he too was beaten by a mob, because he was a Jew. Gangs roamed the streets of Crown Heights for three days, until finally police were allowed to rein in the chaos.

But those who lived in the neighborhood have never forgotten the rage and fear that gripped the streets. Leaders of every community in the neighborhood were summoned to the office of then-Borough President Howard Golden to form what later became the Crown Heights Coalition, led by Rabbi Shea Hecht and Dr. Edison O. Jackson. The group spent 10 years reaching out to all members of all communities in the neighborhood, sharing each others’ culture codes and building bridges where lines of communication didn’t exist.

The effort paid off with increased funding for community projects and a new look for the neighborhood, community leaders more committed to mutual efforts where city hall is concerned and better cooperation with the NYPD.

“Things aren’t perfect,” said Chana L., a Jewish Crown Heights resident who spoke with JewishPress.com late Thursday night, “but the situation is better than it was. Our hope is to build on that and keep improving from there.”

Hana Levi Julian

Recalling Ed Koch’s Political Hypocrisy

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Now that the tributes to Ed Koch have abated, it behooves us to recall one of the less praiseworthy aspects of the former mayor’s character – his abject hypocrisy on race relations, particularly as they manifested themselves in his incessant criticism of Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani was elected in 1993 to restore order and sheer livability to a city left adrift by Koch and made all the worse by Koch’s hopelessly overmatched successor, David Dinkins. (It may be difficult to recall more than two decades later, but Koch’s stock had plummeted to such depths in1989 that he lost the Democratic primary that year to the ineffectual Dinkins by a solid margin.)

Like Koch before him, Giuliani faced fierce resistance to his policies from the city’s self-styled community activists and black leaders. Giuliani, however, was far more successful than Koch in turning back decades of liberal fiscal and welfare experimentation that nearly bankrupted the city, as well as liberal social and law enforcement policies that left citizens cowering in fear behind bolted doors.

Koch certainly was an improvement over his two immediate predecessors, the liberal Democrat Abe Beame and the even more liberal Republican John Lindsay, but when Koch assumed office in 1978 the city’s economic house was already on its way to being put in order thanks to the efforts of politicians like Governor Hugh Carey and bankers like Felix Rohatyn.

Koch’s outsize personality, and his very public repudiation of the liberal pieties he himself had so slavishly subscribed to for decades, made him a popular figure in the city for the first two of his three terms in office. But he never got a handle on a skyrocketing crime rate and the entrenched municipal corruption.

That Giuliani managed to tame a city long characterized by many as “ungovernable” had to have bothered a man with Koch’s healthy self-regard. In short order Giuliani was being hailed as the best mayor the city had seen since La Guardia – and Koch was aligning himself with some very strange political bedfellows, most notably the Rev. Al Sharpton. (The Village Voice trumpeted Koch as the man “who made Al Sharpton kosher.”)

Koch became a chronic – some would say compulsive – critic of Giuliani. His criticism grew so predictable and mindless that the very title of a collection of his newspaper columns on the mayor – “Giuliani, Nasty Man” – had about it the whiff of parody.

With his new pal Sharpton in tow, Koch took particular delight in skewering Giuliani over his handling of racial issues. Koch no doubt hoped New Yorkers would forget just what a racial tinderbox the city had been during his own mayoralty.

The Harlem pastor Calvin Butts, for example, had labeled Koch “an instigator of the climate of racial fear in this city,” while CUNY professor Marshall Berman charged that Koch “has been remarkably adept at polarizing blacks and Jews.”

Koch reached a nadir in his campaign against Giuliani in October 1995. The UN was marking its fiftieth anniversary and Yasir Arafat was being feted all around town as a man of peace. When Giuliani learned that Arafat had been invited to a Lincoln Center concert to be performed by the New York Philharmonic, he dispatched aides to tell Arafat and his entourage to make themselves disappear from the premises.

Koch wasted no time in holding a joint press conference with David Dinkins (of whom Koch had once written, “I thought the city would be destroyed if we had to live through a second Dinkins term”) to denounce Giuliani.

“Mayor Giuliani,” Koch told reporters, “has behavioral problems dealing with other people.”

Giuliani took the criticism in stride, telling a UJA-Federation fundraising breakfast shortly after the controversy that he was “proud of that decision. I’d make it again, and the day I’d stop making it is the day I’d resign as mayor…. When I write my memoirs, this is one of the things that I probably will be proudest of.”

On that day Giuliani showed himself to be the kind of fearless politician Ed Koch once took such pride in being.

Jason Maoz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/recalling-ed-kochs-political-hypocrisy/2013/02/20/

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