Hate Crimes Continue to Spike in New York City: Jews Must Better Protect Themselves and Increase Political Engagement

Hate Crimes Continue to Spike in New York City: Jews Must Better Protect Themselves and Increase Political Engagement

By Yehudit Garmaise

     Hate crimes in New York City, in addition to gun violence and other crimes, are spiking by as much as 139% since 2020, when President Donald Trump, who was, and sometimes still is, blamed for a rise in attacks on minorities, was still in office.

     Although usually reported secondarily or not at all, anti-Semitic assaults, which are usually at the top of the list of hate crimes in the city, have increased a shocking 69% already this year, the NYPD reported.

     In 2021, the number of attacks on Jews so far is 113, while last year, the number of anti-Semitic assaults in New York City was 67.

     Notably, when Corey Johnson spoke last week with Mayor Bill de Blasio, to unveil the city’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year, the speaker of the New York City Council, mentioned the rise in crimes against Asian-Americans: which are up to 105, compared to 21 last year, but neglected to acknowledge at all the chart-topping rise in anti-Semitic crimes.

     Blacks, white, Muslims, and Hispanic also saw increases in hate crimes although, the numbers of attacks those groups do not exceed 28.

     From Jan. 1 to June 27, police officers reported that the total number of possible bias attacks they have investigated is 320, which is dramatically up from the 134 incidents that were reported in the same period last year, NYPD data show.

    While no other group that is targeted for hate crimes could or would ever be asked to hide the signifiers of their identities, last month, when anti-Semitic crimes surged worldwide while Hamas bombed Israel for 11 days, Aaron Keyak, an Orthodox Jew, who serves as the “Jewish engagement director” for President Joe Biden tweeted, “It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your life or physical safety, take off your kippah and hide your” Magen David.

    While many observant Jews were appalled by Keyak’s call for American Jews to respond to anti-Semitism by hiding their Jewishness, as European Jews have had to do as the continent’s Muslim population has grown and with it the amount of brutal public violence perpetrated against Jews, as the New York Post recently pointed out, other Jews felt despair that Keyak’s tweet merely signified the degree to which the current presidential administration would rather tell us to hide, rather than to use every possible element of law and order to protect us.

     One Boro Parker sadly said, “To them, our blood is hefker.” 

     What can we do?

      A community activist said, “While we need to beef up security in our schools and shuls, community members need to be more vigilant, by making more efforts to reach out to and work with the local government.

     “We need to think creatively and dynamically to create more education citywide to prevent hate crimes.”

     State Sen. Simcha Felder, who said he is in constant contact with the NYPD to increase and to improve the protective resources throughout our district, said that,  “With continued tefillos and siyata d’shmaya, we will get through this tumultuous time.

     “Until then, it is important to practice greater awareness of our surroundings and be sure to report every single incident.”

     “Anti-semitism is increasing at an alarming rate,” said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, who provided Boro Parkers with a few simple steps that can to fight back.

     "Reach out to your local representatives, and ask them to support strong legislation that will allow judges to set bail and put perpetrators of hate crimes behind bars.

     "Also let legislators know that you fully support the NYPD.

     "Finally: get out and vote! Whom we elect matters! Your voice matters!”

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