33% of those arrested for antisemitic crimes in NYC were black, 60% white

ADL: Motivation of each perpetrator of attack on Jews needs to be clearly evaluated for their intentions

Jewish people try to take a look of the area where 5 people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York (photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish people try to take a look of the area where 5 people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York
(photo credit: REUTERS)
New York Police Department statistics for the first three quarters of 2019 document 45 arrests for anti-Jewish hate crimes in New York City. One third of those arrested were African-Americans, while 60% were white individuals.
This represents a rate similar to that in 2018, when of the 69 arrests made for antisemitic hate crimes in New York, 40 of those arrested, or 57%, were white, and 25 of those arrested, or 36%, were black.
The African-American population in New York City is approximately 25%, while whites account for 44% of the city’s residents.
In the first three quarters of 2019, there were 166 complaints of anti-Jewish hate incidents out of a total of 309 hate incidents of all kinds, meaning antisemitic attacks constituted 54% of all hate crimes in New York, despite the fact that the Jewish population is only 13% of the city’s residents.
The NYPD does not provide information on the ethnic backgrounds of alleged perpetrators in hate crime complaints.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, former longtime Democratic New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind said that there is “a problem with many young people in the black community, but not just young people.”
He pointed to antisemitic comments made by Joan Terrell-Paige, a member of the Jersey City Board of Education, following the Jersey City antisemitic shooting, who alleged that “brutes of the Jewish community” had “waved bags of money” at black homeowners, and alleged that “six rabbis were accused of selling body parts.”
Hikind also noted that members of the Hudson County Democratic Black Caucus, representing elected officials at the state, county and local levels in New Jersey, said that while it did not agree with “the delivery of the statement” made by Terrell-Paige, they said that the issues she raised “must be addressed and should be a topic of a larger conversation” between the African-American and Jewish communities.
“This is unreal,” said Hikind. “This to me indicates something much deeper at play. Whatever it is, we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it.”
Alexander Rosemberg, the Anti-Defamation League’s director of community affairs for the New York and New Jersey region, said that “rhetoric from high levels of leadership on the Right and Left” has created a permissive atmosphere for “individuals to speak and act in a certain way.”
And he cited “age-old tensions,” such as those witnessed in the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn, New York, in 1991, in which Jews were attacked by black neighborhood residents after a black child was struck and killed by a vehicle in the motorcade of Chabad leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Rosemberg added that some of these tensions are a result of the Jewish and black communities living side by side, and a result of online and social media hate, which he said is a cocktail that has fueled antisemitism and other forms of hatred.
He said that the situation in Brooklyn, where there have been dozens of attacks against Jews in the community, is “disheartening,” and that the ADL has been “trying to do outreach to the Afro-Caribbean community in Brooklyn specifically.”
He noted that two months ago the ADL announced an increase in education programming in Brooklyn “specifically because we saw the highest number of assaults there.”
He also said that the ADL has taken church pastors from Jersey City to Poland to see the Nazi death camps there, “in order to facilitate bridge building and dialogue so that these tensions can be dialed down.”
Rosemberg said, however, that the ADL is concerned about antisemitism in specific neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey, and not necessarily about antisemitism among specific communities.
He insisted that the suspects in each antisemitic incident could have different motivations, noting that in many cases the motive was unclear.
Rosemberg pointed specifically to the Jersey City shooting as an incident where the antisemitic and antiwhite motivation of the two assailants was clear, as were those of the white supremacist perpetrators in Poway and Pittsburgh.
But he said that in many other cases, perpetrators did not leave such clear indications as to their motivation, and that therefore assumptions about the nature of the attack should not be made.
“When someone issues a manifesto before they enter a synagogue, or before they walk into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, then people will call that out, too. It becomes murky when the perpetrator has not expressed a clear ideology,” said Rosemberg.
“We need to understand that each perpetrator needs to be evaluated clearly for their intentions,” he added, saying that two antisemitic incidents in Brooklyn over the past two weeks were committed by people who were mentally unstable.