Anti-Semitic attacks on the rise in NYC, worried officials say
There have been 224 hate crimes committed in New York City this year and 89 of them were anti-Semitic attacks against Jews, according to a group of lawmakers who held a rally on the steps of City Hall on Thursday to denounce the incidents.
“As we have seen waves of hateful violence against the Jewish community sweep across Europe we must act to stop it in its tracks here in New York City,” said Councilmember David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-parts of Bensonhurst). “We are standing together to make it clear that this rise in anti-Semitism is unacceptable and more must be done by our own city to end these disgusting attacks. We need more done now,” said Greenfield, who represents a district where large numbers of Orthodox Jews live.
Greenfield was one of 25 city and state lawmakers taking part in the Sept.18 rally. The elected officials said they want the city to take stronger action to prevent such attacks and to do more to punish those who commit hate crimes.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in New York City, according to lawmakers at the rally, who cited disturbing Police Department statistics to get their point across. There has been a 39 percent rise in hate crimes this year alone, the elected officials said. In 2013, the total number of hate crimes was 192. Sixty-four of those crimes were classified as anti-Semitic incidents.
Several hate crimes were reported this summer by victims who were subjected to vandalism, harassment and violence, elected officials said.
Prominent Jewish leaders, including Michael Miller from the JCRC and Jeff Leb from the Orthodox Union, also stood on the steps of City Hall to call for action.
Lawmakers and community leaders said their concern is heightened by the fact that the Jewish high holidays are rapidly approaching. Rosh Hashanah starts Sept.24.
“Our extraordinary diversity is one of our greatest strengths. As such, any and all acts against people based on their sex, race, religion, color or creed are attacks that cut to the very core of who we are as New Yorkers and what this city has meant and always will mean to people around the world,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said.
“Anti-Semitic and biased crimes have absolutely no place in New York City where people from all faiths and backgrounds come to live and raise their families. New Yorkers overwhelmingly reject this kind of hate because it runs against exactly what we are about: tolerance, inclusivity and community,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said.
Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said the attacks are especially hard for Brooklyn residents to bear, given the fact that the borough is home to large numbers of Holocaust survivors. “It is especially upsetting to see this type of hate in Brooklyn, which is home to so many Holocaust survivors, and residents and leaders of all backgrounds must unite to say this will not be tolerated here or anywhere,” he said.
News 12 Brooklyn reported in August that Brooklyn has the largest number of Holocaust survivors of all five boroughs.
“I am deeply troubled by the recent increase of anti-Semitic crimes in New York and we must work together to root them out in their entirety,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-North Brooklyn).
“New Yorkers cannot quietly stand by while anti-Semitic or hateful crimes rise against our brother and sisters,” said Councilmember Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush-Flatlands).
“Intolerance, discrimination and hate of any kind have no place in New York or anywhere,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights). “Hate crimes do terrible harm to the victims, the targeted community and our entire city.”
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