On Wednesday, The Forward, a leftist paper that centers on Jewish issues, published an article revolving around recent attacks on Jews living in Brooklyn, suggesting that recent attacks on Jews by blacks arise from gentrification, and quotes a local black leader saying that attacks from blacks on Jews are precipitated not by anti-Semitism per se, but because blacks see Judaism as “a form of almost hyper-whiteness.”
That statement came from Mark Winston Griffith, executive director of the Black Movement Center, who argued that blacks resented the gentrification of their neighborhoods driven by whites.
The Forward stated, “Jews are being targeted, say residents of these communities, by members of non-white ethnic groups who see Jews as symbols of gentrification in their neighborhoods.” The Forward noted that of the six attacks on Jews in Brooklyn in the last six weeks, three have occurred in Crown Heights: “On Oct. 15, a teenager beat a Jewish man with a stick. On Nov. 19, a high school-age yeshiva student was ‘sucker-punched’ by an assailant. On Saturday, a man was punched without provocation on his way to synagogue. The last incident came amid four attacks on Jewish people — two of them on children — that occurred on the same weekend.”
In addition, a group of black teenagers loitering near a Brooklyn synagogue hurled a metal pole through the synagogue window on November 10; one congregant told The New York Post, “People were praying inside at the time. Everyone is upset already. So, this we don’t need this now.”
Last April, a black man attacked a 52-year-old Jewish man near the Kingsbrook Medical Center in Crown Heights. After that attack, State Senator Jesse Hamilton stated, “As a community, we must stand united in speaking out against these hateful, anti-Semitic crimes. These attacks are an assault on decency and an assault on our values; they are crimes that are especially cruel for violating the sanctity of a time for worship, peace, and reflection.”
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer echoed, “Around the country, people are being targeted because of who they are and what they believe. Even in New York City, hate – specifically anti-Semitic hate – is spiking. In the past year, anti-Semitic incidents rose in New York State by 90 percent, and just this week, Brooklyn experienced two horrific attacks. These are not just attacks on our communities – they’re attacks on everything this City stands for.”
The executive director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Rabbi Eli Cohen, told the Forward that the attacks in Crown Heights are “clearly anti-Semitic,” adding, “if someone feels that white supremacists are feeling more empowered, how would that make a young minority kid hit a Jewish person?”
One Jewish resident of Crown Heights told the Forward that public school children often scream “Heil Hitler!” at her children’s school.
Back in 1991 in Crown Heights, a car escorting the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who led Chabad and whose headquarters were located in Crown Heights, inadvertently hit two children; one black child was killed. A mob of black teenagers found Yankel Rosenbaum, a Jewish doctoral student from Australia, walking outside alone. They beat him, fractured his skull, and then stabbed him repeatedly. Before he died, Rosenbaum identified his assailant; riots against the Jews continued for four more days.