Photo Credit: Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio meets representatives of the Crown Heights Jewish community, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.

{Originally posted to the Elder of Ziyon website}

After every antisemitic attack on Jews, the talking heads tell us what we “must” do to combat antisemitism. These all-knowing oracles run the gamut of political and religious beliefs and this should be comforting. All these people, irrespective of their beliefs, know just what we “must” do to end the killing, the attacks, the fear and hate.


It’s kind of hard, however, to take any of them seriously in a world in which antisemitic attacker Tiffany Harris is not only released without posting bail on her own recognition, but awarded a metro ticket, two debit cards, and a burner phone. For all we know it was the fare, free money, and phone that inspired Harris to do it again: to assault an innocent victim. But what we know for a fact is that Tiffany Harris was back on the streets in less time than you can say “bail reform,” only to be arrested and re-released, 24 hours later (with another metro ticket, two debit cards, and a burner phone), for punching a woman in the eye.

Tiffany’s most recent victim of assault (as of this writing), subsequent to her slapping three Orthodox Jewish women while yelling, “F-U Jews,” was not believed to be Jewish. It matters little. Tiffany Harris committed several violent, criminal offenses prior to the recent antisemitic attack which makes her a danger to society, and she does, in fact hate Jews. Violent and antisemitic? Not a good combination.


Tiffany Harris isn’t and won’t be the only violent antisemite to be affected by bail reform. And antisemitism existed before the new legislation. Still, it’s a bad time to be implementing these reforms, given the current spate of attacks. What it all means, bail reform legislation, is that come January 1, a whole lot of criminal offenses will no longer qualify for bail, though law enforcement officials are already complying with the spirit of the law. According to WTEN, (emphasis added):

On January 1, a number of criminal offenses will no longer qualify for bail. It’s something police and prosecutors are not happy about when it comes to public safety. The long list, courtesy of The District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, includes:

  •      Assault in the third degree
  • Aggravated vehicular assault
  • Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide
  • Manslaughter in the second degree
  • Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
  • Coercion in the first degree
  • Arson in the third and fourth degree
  • Grand larceny in the first degree
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds or criminal possession of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and second degree
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and second degree
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
  • Specified felony drug offenses involving the use of children, including the use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense and criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child
  • Criminal solicitation in the first degree and criminal facilitation in the first degree
  • Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third and fourth degree
  • Making a terroristic threat
  • Patronizing a person for prostitution in a school zone
  • Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Obstructing governmental administration in the first and second degree
  • Obstructing governmental administration by means of a self-defense spray device
  • Bribery in the first degree
  • Bribe giving for public office
  • Bribe receiving in the first degree
  • Promoting prison contraband in the first and second degree
  • Resisting arrest
  • Hindering prosecution
  • Tampering with a juror and tampering with physical evidence
  • Aggravated harassment in the first degree
  • Directing a laser at an aircraft in the first degree
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree
  • Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor
  • Enterprise corruption and money laundering in the first degree
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals, overdriving, torturing and injuring animals
  • Failure to provide proper sustenance
  • Animal fighting


When you read this lengthy list of crimes, you begin to see how an antisemitic attacker might be released without bail, even multiple times. Meanwhile, we had a total of 8 antisemitic attacks in New York City over Chanukah. That’s one for every day of the festival. And then there was the Monsey attack, which overshadowed all the other attacks, involving, as it did, a machete in the close quarters of a rabbi’s home, during a holiday celebration.

Bail reform, coming precisely at this time, is helping to unleash this wild spate of antisemitic crime, for there are no longer any serious consequences to attacking Jews. At least in New York. There, the Jews may be attacked with impunity.

The light at the end of this very dark tunnel is that leaders from every quarter were confident they knew just what we “must” do about all this hate and xenophobia, which they say is the cause of the attacks. (Rather than, for example, state-sanctioned mayhem with our perennial favorite target, the Jews). On the left, for example, we have Rabbi Michael Adam Latz and Carin Mrotz, toting their peerless, far-left JStreet social justice warrior creds in NBCNews, to tell us that in order to fight antisemitism, we must fight all sorts of other ugly things. Because, we are meant to understand, antisemitism is not unique or distinct from other hatreds.

“We must continue our work to end racism and poverty, sexism and transphobia. We must grapple with the truth that the very mechanisms we seek out to shore up our own safety might put others at risk and push us further apart.”

That last little bit was a nice touch. Translated, it means that if we don’t implement bail reform, we might save a few Jews, but we would be putting others at risk. Those “others” are not named and it’s all very vague, but perhaps the authors mean people like Tiffany Harris, who, as a black woman, is from a population considered “underserved.”

As Jews, from the perspective of the authors, we are supposed to sacrifice our own safety for that of Tiffany Harris. This is because she is black and underserved which makes her oppressed, all of which makes her vulnerable. In order to keep Tiffany safe, it seems, we have to let this violent criminal back on the streets, but only, of course after making sure she has what she needs to get a fresh start: a metro card, two debit cards, and a burner phone, all on the house. Each time she does it: hits someone.

If Tiffany Harris has learned that crime pays, embattled Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has learned a different lesson. You will remember how Pelosi caved in to The Squad on the antisemitism bill, allowing it to be watered down to include every other kind of bigotry and hate. Pelosi’s tweet after Monsey was all-inclusive, hence skewed far left, like the bill:

“We must condemn and confront anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and hate wherever & whenever we see them.”


The tweet itself, as you can see, stands as Nancy’s “condemnation” of antisemitism by way of making a statement. “Confrontation” comes in the form of spinning antisemitism as nothing special, no different from any other hate. This is the mantra we are expected to absorb and repeat about antisemitism. The truth has nothing to do with it.

Unlike Latz, Mrotz, and Pelosi, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations comes close to speaking about antisemitism as a singular phenomenon, by mentioning the lack of serious consequences for attackers. The problem is the failure of the Conference of Presidents to name the reason for this deficiency. That would be the new bail reform legislation. Instead, they go at the problem backwards, by describing what is needed as what the new legislation has taken away: the rule of law.

“There must be real measures by law enforcement, governmental leaders, and judicial authorities at the city, state, and federal levels. … There must be serious consequences for perpetrators.”


As experts in antisemitism, the more narrowly-focused Rabbi Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, are better. Hier and Cooper understand the nature of antisemitism. They know that antisemitism needs to be dealt with as a unique phenomenon, lest you neutralize its impact by diluting the field with all manner of unrelated things. They see the problem as a bigger picture thing: national rather than specific to New York. Their solution for antisemitism, therefore, seems to be to delegate the problem to a different body: the FBI.

“Enough is enough! Jews should not have to fear for their lives in America to go to their houses of worship. The FBI must step up and take the lead in all recent violent hate crimes targeting religious Jews.”

A Fox op-ed, “Rabbi Abraham Cooper: Hanukkah stabbings show anti-Semitism thriving in US – Here’s what we must do,” is more expansive. Here, thankfully, the bail reform issue is mentioned, along with BDS and college campus antisemitism, as different facets of a larger problem. We are told that the fight against antisemitism must be bipartisan, and that African American leaders need to get involved. This is certainly true. And there’s even a reference to social media: “We must demand that the social media giants do much more to cripple the online recruitment and marketing of bigots and terrorists.”

The last feels like a dig at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who has been expanding on his views on the subject.

At any rate, when it comes to what the FBI must do about antisemitism, Rabbi Cooper is short on details, saying only that “We need a more robust FBI-led response to the violent targeting of Jews.”

Everyone, it seems, knows what we must do about antisemitic attacks. But no one seems to be able to identify exactly what that is. At the very least, Mayor Deblasio was able to tell us what we will NOT do, which seems to involve not becoming complaisant (but perhaps instead to stand by and feel really, really bad as Jews are attacked–or at least to say so):

“We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all. The NYPD has deployed a visible and growing presence around Jewish houses of worship on the streets in communities like Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Boro Park.”


de Blasio speaks of using “every tool we have to stop these attacks.” But when “every tool” includes letting a Tiffany Harris back on the street times two—each time with a metro card, two debit cards, and a burner phone in her hot little hands, New York has got no tools. None at all.

Except, perhaps, for de Blasio.


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Blogger and mother of 12, Varda Meyers Epstein is a third-generation Pittsburgher who made aliyah at age 18 and never looked back. A proud settler who lives in the biblical Judean heartland, Varda serves as the communications writer for the nonprofit car donation program Kars4Kids, a Guidestar Gold medal charity. The author's political opinions are her own and not endorsed by her employer.