THE FORWARD: "Is A String of Attacks Against Brooklyn Jews Really About Anti-Semitism?"
December 06, 2018, 07:40 AM
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From The Forward:

Is A String Of Attacks Against Brooklyn Jews Really About Anti-Semitism?

Ari Feldman, December 5, 2018

… Jews are being targeted, say residents of these communities, by members of non-white ethnic groups who see Jews as symbols of gentrification in their neighborhoods.

“It’s less of an anti-Semitic thing than they needed a target to respond to this word: gentrification,” said Mendel Turner, 28, a salesman at the Borsalino hat store on Kingston Avenue. …

… Indeed, no one who was arrested for perpetrating an anti-Semitic hate crime in New York City in the 22 months leading up to October has been associated with a far right group.

The attacks in Crown Heights are “clearly anti-Semitic,” said the executive director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Rabbi Eli Cohen. But, he said, “if someone feels that white supremacists are feeling more empowered, how would that make a young minority kid hit a Jewish person?”

Crown Heights residents are particularly attuned to violence against Jews because of the neighborhood’s history of racial tension. That culminated in violent riots in 1991 after a car escorting the Lubavitcher Rebbe — the leader of the worldwide Chabad movement, headquartered in Crown Heights — hit two small children, killing one. During the rioting, a Jewish man was stabbed to death by a black assailant. …

Crown Heights residents say that the attacks here are caused by local issues, and need local solutions. They say that rapid gentrification, less intensive policing and other pressures are combining to stoke animosity between Jewish and other minority communities.

Jews are pegged as the representatives of gentrification because, in many poor Brooklyn neighborhoods, they are, says Avi Leshes, a director of economic development at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. …

And while the attacks are targeting Jews, it may be because black people identify Judaism as “a form of almost hyper-whiteness,” according to Mark Winston Griffith, executive director of the Black Movement Center …

In that regard, Griffith said, the attacks may be an extension of animosity toward white people in general, who drive gentrification in Brooklyn. He added that the attacks are not on the radar of people involved in social justice initiatives in Crown Heights.

“To the extent that people hear about it, they are probably thinking about it in the national context of anti-Semitic acts, and the larger landscape of hatred that is being painted by Donald Trump,” he said.

My guess is that the majority of Jews in New York City who have been victims of anti-Semitic attacks are supporters of Trump.

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