Young Jews rally in support of Israel in New York, July 20..
(photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The Anti-Defamation League, which aims to fight anti-Semitism through specialized programs and services, has expressed “deep concern” over anti-Semitic incidents in New York City.
The ADL said it had documented about a dozen attacks targeting the Jewish community across the five boroughs of the city since September 2015.
Among the incidents were: the vandalism of a menorah in Manhattan during Hanukka; a Jewish victim in Brooklyn punched in the face on November 3, while the suspect allegedly stated he was “tired and fed up of the Jews”; a Hatzalah worker slashed with a knife in Crown Heights the next day; and the Stanton Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side, which was broken into and vandalized in early October.
The latest assault on the list occurred last week when a yeshiva student was violently attacked in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Reports stated that the 17-year-old victim had been punched in the face and thrown into the street while walking home.
“We must call attention to these attacks and do all we can – together with NYPD [New York Police Department], community and religious leaders and our elected officials – to stamp out these horrific incidents that leave our neighbors, friends and family feeling vulnerable,” ADL New York regional director Evan R. Bernstein said in a statement.
However, the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed that there was “absolutely no statistical difference” in anti-Semitic crimes in New York City between 2014 and 2015.
“Anti-Semitic hate crimes are down significantly since 2012’s recent high,” the mayor’s office wrote to The Jerusalem Post
. “Overall crime continues to decrease – down 5.8% since Mayor de Blasio took office in January 2014 alone.”
In 2012, the city recorded 207 anti-Semitic incidents. According to its figures, the number dropped to 127 in 2013 and 122 in 2014.
“Regardless, one bias attack is one too many, which is why the city responds forcefully to protect communities when an attack happens in the five boroughs or around the globe,” the mayor’s office said.
It also pointed out that de Blasio strongly condemned anti-Semitism at the Annual Conference of Mayors held in Jerusalem in October. During the event, de Blasio said he was “very proud” of New York City’s large Jewish population.
“It’s also something that provides me with a sense of responsibility to protect the community that, sadly, has known not just tens of years or centuries of oppression, but millennia,” he stated.
“We respond to acts of bias. We respond not only when there is an act of bias and hatred against the Jewish people in our city, but even when there is an act elsewhere in the world,” the mayor told the conference.