PZC is horrified by the spate of antisemitic violence occurring in New York City over the past seven days. It culminated in a machete attack at a rabbi’s house in Monsey on December 28, injuring five. Antisemitic violence is unacceptable regardless of whom is perpetrating it, and we cannot be afraid to condemn it.
The violence in NYC has been an ongoing problem for the past several years and defies political ideology. It is not clear what motivates the attacks on the largely Hasidic communities in Brooklyn and Crown Heights. It is easy to condemn violent right wing antisemitism that Trump and his lackeys glibly spread. It is harder to condemn left wing and non-ideological antisemitism — and yet we must. PZC co-founder Matthew Finkelstein said, “The Hasidic and Haredi communities are some of the poorest and least assimilated Jewish communities in the United States. Being visibly Jewish makes the attacks so much more viscerally painful because it is impossible to deny that most of the time they were harmed because of who and what they are.”
We commend law enforcement for their swift apprehension of the perpetrator, and are encouraged by the new slate of programs intended to address the causes of the attacks — namely the creation of new “Neighborhood Safety Coalitions” in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Boro Park, a new curricula in the Department of Education to stave off future attacks, and increased cameras and NYPD presence in these areas. Solutions to this problem must be community based, and we believe these are solid initial measures. More needs to be done to understand who and why these attacks are being committed and we encourage New York CIty leadership to devote time and resources to finding out.