There will be little joy for Jews this coming Holiday season – how could there be?
Mere weeks after the Hamas attack on Israel that left more than 1,400 dead and over 200 missing, antisemitism has reached “historic levels” across the US, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
And the worst could be yet to come.
Last week saw pro-Palestine protesters trap 40 students in their library at the Cooper Union, menacing crowds nearly shut down both the Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Station – along with anti-Jewish incidents at shops and cafes citywide.
Jews are scared. But the question is, what is Mayor Adams and the rest of New York City’s administrative apparatus doing about it?
Are they going to keep us safe — especially as Adams contends within an unanticipated campaign-financing scandal?
This is not alarmist conjecture.
According to director Wray, not only has anti-Semitism spiked in the US, but the threat of Islamist terror has risen here as well.
“We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration” for subsequent attacks, said Wray, who also expressed fears about ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah activities. “It is time to be concerned. We are in a dangerous period.”
New York makes for a particular choice target for Islamic fundamentalists – after all, they’ve already succeeded here in spectacular fashion.
This time around, however, the target is both more tactical and terrifying.
With more than 1.6 million Jews, New York is the largest “Jewish” city in the world.
This means the targets of antisemitic terror are literally everywhere.
Also everywhere these days, guns – thousands of them, mostly illegal, often untraceable, and largely from out of state.
And criminals, hundreds walking freely when they should be behind bars – the benefits of laissez-faire prosecutors elected into office thanks to progressive funders.
And guess what, those same funders have also poured millions into the pro-Palestine groups now chanting “from the river to the sea.”
So far those protests have yet to result in bloodshed, but the writing is on the wall.
Especially as crowds descend upon the city for holiday fun. Will protestors swarm a Rockettes’ matinee?
It’s possible – considering they’ve already interrupted Congress.
Might rioters overwhelm a Christmas tea or three?
They could – scores of mice painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag were tossed into a British McDonald’s this week.
Perhaps an attack at a public Hanukkah lighting ceremony?
Jews at least believe it’s plausible, considering the surge in private security now being added to weddings and Bar Mitzvahs citywide.
Beyond the theatrics is the very real concern that the NYPD is not up to the job of keeping Jews safe.
All those calls to defund the police a few years back actually worked – officer numbers are down more than 10% since 2020 and are continuing to plunge at record levels.
Meanwhile, response times for serious 911 calls have risen 43% since 2019 — which provides plenty of opportunity for the bad guys to get away.
Refilling those police ranks won’t be easy — demoralized NYPD officers are fleeing for more lucrative careers while those who stay are being subjected to inane grooming and behavior regulations at the exact moment their loyalty is needed most.
This means some fresh (and fast) thinking from every element of City Hall is now required.
In late 2020, the NYPD created a special task force to combat rising anti-Asian hate crimes.
There were nearly two dozen of them in under five months – horrible; but fewer than the 30 anti-Jewish incidents in just the first two days following Hamas’ attack on Israel last month.
A similar task force must immediately be put in place – the city’s existing Hate Crimes Task Force is no longer enough.
Meanwhile, Gov. Hochul recently announced $75 million in extra funding to protect religious institutions statewide and New York City should be among the first to put that money into action.
Also required, is a robust and public commitment to prosecuting and sentencing crimes designated as “hate,” the majority of which — surprise! – are dropped by the time defendants face a jury.
But without similar sentiments from prosecutors, Jewish New Yorkers will not only live in fear but could consider living elsewhere.
New York is already suffering the economic consequences of the mass COVID-era exodus that saw nearly 550,000 people abandon the state in 2022 alone.
Florida was the big winner last time around and with Gov. Ron DeSantis already talking tough-on-Hamas, the Sunshine State — with its fortress-like homes and pro-owner gun laws — could win again.
Of course, the big loser here is New York, already reeling from billions in lost tax revenue now benefitting Florida, which has been particularly adept in luring affluent millennials.
Another mass migration of professional Jews would hit New York especially hard, but it’s hardly unthinkable if they no longer feel safe here. I certainly don’t.
But beyond mere economics, a New York judenrein — “empty of Jews” in Nazi-speak – would in many ways mean an end to New York as we know it.
An end, among other city essentials, to the theater Jews produce, the tech Jews develop, and the philanthropy Jews support.
And no one wants that. Keep us safe, Mr. Mayor and you’ll keep us here.