Socialist Workers Party candidates Willie Cotton (9th Congressional district) and Seth Galinsky (10th Congressional district), on Wednesday emailed us this statement, which they titled “Speak out against Mayor de Blasio’s anti-Jewish scapegoating, attacks on the right to protest and setting loose the cops on people for ‘gathering’!”
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
(we didn’t touch the following text, not even a little):
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “message to the Jewish Community” — personally overseeing the cops who broke up the April 28 funeral in Williamsburg for Rabbi Chaim Mertz — fuels the slanderous and false charges that Jews are to blame for spreading coronavirus. The mayor’s words and actions must be denounced for what they are: anti-Semitism.
The mayor claims his message — and the harassment of the Hasidic Jewish community, including raids on several synagogues — is “tough love.” In fact, the police granted permission for the funeral and approved plans for loudspeakers so that mourners could hear the ceremony without overcrowding. At the last minute the cops ordered the speakers not be used, then turned on the mourners.
Over the last several months we have seen deadly anti-Jewish violence. From the Dec.10 attack at the Jersey City, New Jersey, Kosher Supermarket that killed three people to the stabbing at a Monsey, New York, Chanukah celebration. Prior to those murderous attacks there had been frequent physical assaults on Jews in Brooklyn, especially on Hassidic Jews.
Anti-Semitism is a threat to all Jews, religious and secular, and to the entire working class. Jew-hatred is built into capitalism, where it plays a unique role. It invents a mythical scapegoat — the “evil Jewish capitalists” — to take eyes off the real enemy: the capitalist system and its exploitation and oppression. As long as capitalism exists so will anti-Semitism. When the capitalist rulers’ hold on power is threatened by rising working-class struggles, they will give Jew-hatred free reign and finance groups of fascist thugs whose goal will be to smash the workers movement.
While that is not the case today, as the crisis of capitalism deepens, that day will come.
This is not just a Jewish question. Working people must denounce Jew-hatred in all its ugly manifestations. Without this we will not be able to unite to defend our interests along the road to taking power out of the hands of the capitalist class and forming a government of workers and farmers. That is also the only way to put an end to Jew-hatred once and for all.
After slandering the Jewish community, issuing fines and sanctioning arrests for allegedly violating social distancing, Mayor de Blasio has also attacked the constitutional right of assembly, free speech and protest. He defended attempts by the police to shut down a protest and press conference outside Mt. Sinai Medical Center, saying “we’re not doing rallies at this point.”
Meanwhile cops, following de Blasio’s lead, arrested a couple in the East Village who they claimed were not “social distancing,” then called Donni Wright, a NYCHA worker who had observed the first assault a racist epithet and brutally beat him. This was caught on video by a bystander.
The Socialist Workers Party 2020 campaign urges working people to join in speaking out against Jew-hatred, police brutality and the threats against the right to protest. The capitalist rulers try to use panic whipped up by their press over coronavirus as a pretext for these assaults. The deepening economic and social crisis is the biggest problem workers face. We must organize to fight against the attempts of the bosses and their government to make working people pay for the capitalist crisis.
The above is, obviously, neither an endorsement of the Socialist Workers Party as a whole nor of either candidate specifically, but it does help to see that other folks, not just us, Orthodox Jews, think the mayor’s attack on Haredi Jews was about as anti-Semitic as one can be in New York City in the post Father Coughlin era.