NY governor: Rise of antisemitism in New York a 'deep, personal concern'

Some 40% of Holocaust survivors in NYC are living in extreme poverty, the governor told The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul at the Jerusalem Post Conference, New York 2022

WASHINGTON – “The rise of antisemitism is of deep personal concern to me as a human being and a leader of this state,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.

No place outside of Israel has a larger Jewish population than New York, she said, vowing to make sure the Jewish community is safe.

“That is why we’ve worked very hard to reduce those numbers and to make sure that our victims have support that we’re making sure that we have resources to protect the vulnerable locations – the synagogues, the yeshivas – bringing over $68 million to fortify them, and they should have the latest technologies to protect them,” she said.

Rising antisemitic crime in New York City 'heartbreaking'

Regarding crime in New York City, Hochul said even though the city is “the safest big city in America,” it does not give anybody comfort. “You still have that sense of anxiety, particularly if you’re a Jewish young man walking down the street with a yarmulke.”

She said a 13-year-old boy told her he was afraid to wear a yarmulke because he might be “knocked down on the street” and said his friends told him it might be better to hide Jewish symbols. “I said, ‘No, you wear that proudly. You are honoring a tradition of generations. You honor who you are, and you will pass it to your children.’”              

 Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers check Manhattan subways after a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, US, April 12, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON) Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers check Manhattan subways after a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, US, April 12, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON)

Hochul said it was heartbreaking for her to learn during a visit to the Museum of Jewish heritage that some 40% of Holocaust survivors in the city were living in extreme poverty.

“I sat down with 10 women, and they told me their experiences – how they had their childhood robbed away from them,” she said. “I thought, ‘How cruel it is that you had your childhood robbed from you, and yet in your later years of life, you have to worry about prescriptions and food on the table.’ I’m committed also as governor, making sure we have the resources to lift them up and give them the dignity that they deserve.”

“We have to make sure that the stories of the Holocaust are understood still in this country,” Hochul said, adding that it was imperative to fight disinformation and Holocaust denial.

“I’m adding accountability to make sure that [Holocaust history] is getting taught so we make sure people know the lessons of the past to make sure that they’re never ever repeated today or in the future,” she said. “That is my commitment.”

Hochul also hinted at an upcoming trip to Israel.

“I will not be announcing a date, but I am coming,” she said.

New York Mayor Eric Adams told the conference: “We like to believe Brooklyn is the Tel Aviv of America. In all my trips to Israel, I am very moved by the innovation, how the start-ups are pushing innovations through the entire globe. They are real partnerships that we are encouraging to continue to see and grow.”