NY Times: Anti-Semitism in New York doesn't 'conform to an easy narrative'

Today the NY Times published a piece today highlighting the fact that half of all hate-crimes in cosmopolitan, progressive New York this year are Anti-Semitic in nature. Furthermore, the piece delicately points out that the perpetrators of these crimes aren’t white supremacists. As the Times’s puts it, the attacks on Jews in New York don’t “conform to an easy narrative.”

Contrary to what are surely the prevailing assumptions, anti-Semitic incidents have constituted half of all hate crimes in New York this year, according to the Police Department. To put that figure in context, there have been four times as many crimes motivated by bias against Jews — 142 in all — as there have against blacks. Hate crimes against Jews have outnumbered hate crimes targeted at transgender people by a factor of 20.

Within the course of a few days this month, a swastika showed up on an Upper West Side corner and two ultra-Orthodox men were attacked on the street in Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn in separate incidents. In one of them, according to the police and prosecutors, a Muslim livery driver jumped out of a car and started beating up his victim, seemingly at random, yelling “Allah.”…

If anti-Semitism bypasses consideration as a serious problem in New York, it is to some extent because it refuses to conform to an easy narrative with a single ideological enemy. During the past 22 months, not one person caught or identified as the aggressor in an anti-Semitic hate crime has been associated with a far right-wing group, Mark Molinari, commanding officer of the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, told me.

“I almost wish it was sometimes more clear cut,’’ he said. “It’s every identity targeting every identity.”

I don’t know what the reportorial process was for this story but reading it I wondered if the author contacted the Hate Crimes Task Force expecting a very different answer about who was behind the attacks on Jews. Whether that’s the case or not, she reported the truth, which I’m sure was contrary to the expectations of many of her readers as well.

The article closes by pointing out one reason these incidents of anti-Semitism don’t get much attention. It’s because the victims often aren’t considered fashionable by what the author labels the ‘Pod Save America’ class.”

When a Hasidic man or woman is attacked by anyone in New York City, mainstream progressive advocacy groups do not typically send out emails calling for concern and fellowship and candlelight vigils in Union Square, as they often do when individuals are harmed in New York because of their race or ethnicity or how they identify in terms of gender or sexual orientation.

Sympathies are distributed unevenly. Few are extended toward religious fundamentalists, of any kind, who reach the radar of the urbane, “Pod Save America” class…

Despite the relatively clear message of the piece, the most recommended comment by NY Times readers is one blaming the President. Here it is in full: “Donald Trump has amplified hate and given it his stamp of approval. He’s a disgrace.” That unwillingness to engage with the fact that this problem extends beyond the President and right-wing hate groups is part of the problem.