NY governor in Israel pledges to fight antisemitism after 83% uptick

Cuomo, who arrived in Israel on Thursday on a lightning visit of barely two days, said that he was personally affronted by the rise in antisemitism.

June 27, 2019 18:21
2 minute read.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

An 83% spike in antisemitic incidents in New York has, to use a common expression in the Big Apple, hit New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the kishkes.

Cuomo, who arrived in Israel on Thursday on a lightning visit of barely two days, said that he was personally affronted by the rise in antisemitism.

He discussed this at meetings with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the meeting with Rivlin, Cuomo – who is on his third visit to Israel since taking office – recalled that at their first meeting in 2014, they had talked about antisemitism as a concept. “The difference in just five years is frightening,” he said. “Now there is world-wide anger and intolerance where any difference is demonized.” Cuomo told Rivlin that he is doing everything in his power to fight back.

He repeated this later at a meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem between his economic delegation and representatives of the Israeli hi-tech industry.

Referring to killings in synagogues in California and Pennsylvania, Cuomo stated “I would like to say we’re immune in New York,” but sadly admitted that the opposite is true.

Cuomo – who grew up with the Jewish community and has two Jewish brothers-in-law who are married to his sisters – said that the Jewish community is so assimilated and acculturated in New York, that he could not imagine drawing a distinction. He said it was incomprehensible to him to see this rise in antisemitism and that he was doing everything possible in his professional capacity, with more police surveillance, more prosecution of perpetrators and more funding of security programs for religious organizations.

“We have zero tolerance; we have more police investigations than ever before, we have stricter laws than ever before and when we find people who have done antisemitic activity, they will be prosecuted,” the governor asserted.

Cuomo clarified that his attitude is not just that of Governor Cuomo, but as Andrew, who “loves Israel and loves the Jewish community with all his heart, because the Jewish community is part of my family, both literally and figuratively.”

Voicing his disgust with the antisemitic fervor that has overtaken the United States, Cuomo found it difficult to understand the spirit of venom, anger and hatred permeating his country and demonizing differences. “Everyone in America came from somewhere else,” he declared. “It’s the greatest irony to draw the line.”

Cuomo was certain that the antisemitic scourge that is currently so prevalent, “does not reflect the overwhelming majority of the 18 million people in New York State who love the Jewish community.”

He suggested that one way to get past the status quo was to build relationships, particularly economic relationships.

Before leaving New York for Israel, Cuomo said: “Antisemitism has no place in New York. Without the Jewish community, New York is not New York.”

In thanking Cuomo for standing up against BDS and antisemitism, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who attended the session at the King David, called him “an unflinching friend.”

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