When Anti-Semitism Strikes ‘Those’ Jews

 

Since Saturday, I’ve had a hypothetical in mind: what if this shooting had happened to Haredi Jews, like those in Brooklyn or Lakewood? Would we have had such an outpouring of support, such an outcry against what transpired?

For as much as we’ve heard about increases in anti-Semitism, the vast majority of the incidents contained within the statistics are vandalism incidents in cemeteries, etc. The most horrifying stories I’ve ever heard, bar none, come from my friends who can never hide their Jewishness (not that they would ever try); Haredi Jews and those who wear yarmulkes; women who wear a wig and a long skirt with stockings.

Just a week or so ago, Jewish men in Brooklyn were assaulted in the middle of the street. Viciously attacked. The news didn’t spread past Jewish media much, but the Times of Israel reported on the crimes,

On Sunday, an identifiably Orthodox Jewish man was beaten at a traffic intersection in Brooklyn in an assault that was investigated as a possible hate crime. The assailant has been identified as 37-year-old cab driver Farrukh Afzal. He has been charged with assault, criminal mischief, and harassment. He reportedly attacked the victim, identified as Rabbi Lipa Schwartz, 62, because he thought he was an Orthodox Jewish man who had stepped in front of his car earlier in the day.

Yeshiva World News reported that hate crimes charges were dropped and the incident has been labeled a road rage incident. Schwartz claims that Afzal shouted “Allah, Allah,” said he wanted to “kill all Jews,” and made references to Israel throughout the attack. Afzal’s wife told the New York Daily News that her husband, who is from Pakistan and is Muslim, is schizophrenic and was acting out because he did not take his medication.

But now, in a post-Pittsburgh world, are crimes committed against “ultra-Orthodox” Jews worthy of attention? It’s not looking that way. In the Haredi enclave of Lakewood (my husband Seth’s hometown), here are two items from today alone:

  • Authorities are investigating the discovery of a doll with a knife through it, hanging
    near a Lakewood school. The doll, wearing what appears to be similar to a school uniform, had a knife
    through its head.

  • Police are investigating a Jewish store owner’s front windows being shot out with what appears to have been a BB gun in a potential anti-Semitic incident in the nearby town of Howell. The Lakewood community is expanding into nearby towns, and there is a great deal of anti-Semitic animus towards this expansion; the store owner attributes the crime committed against his property towards that animus.

In response to the events in Pittsburgh, there were police helicopters flying close to the ground in Lakewood all day, and the police department announced the return of a K9 unit to the township, which can be used for bomb-sniffing and missing persons cases.

In a few weeks, barring any (God-forbid) additional attacks, anti-Semitism will likely fade back into the background of American life. But for Orthodox enclaves across the country, it will remain as present as it’s always been. If the media and politicians care as much as they claim to about the scourge of Jew-hatred, they’ll stop turning a blind eye towards the crimes committed against Jews who don’t dress like everyone else.

 

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  1. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I’m going to speculate here that the difference in public response to Pittsburgh vs the incidents you describe has less (or perhaps nothing) to do with orthodoxy, and much to do with severity: had, G-d forbid, a similar incident occurred in an orthodox community in Brooklyn, the coverage would have been similarly intense, the pain and outrage as acute.

    But I agree with your overall point: anti-Semitism deserves far more attention, and is (deliberately, I think) given short shrift by the press. I credit this largely to the issue of Israel: any positive attention shown to Jews anywhere is implicitly seen as lending support to Israel, and, for reasons that continue to perplex me, the idea of Israel remains toxic to our opinion-shaping elite and the global intelligentsia.

    And I’ll give a nod to American conservatives, and particularly American Christians, who remain staunch defenders of Israel and Jews, even if we rarely hear of specific acts of anti-Semitic violence even here in the U.S.

    • #1
  2. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    The difference is entirely in the identity of the perpetrator. Period! The identity of the victim is otherwise irrelevant.

    • #2
  3. Robert Langdon Inactive
    Robert Langdon
    @RobertLangdon

    This is a hard one Bethany  I thought the increase in events was linked to one teenager in Israel calling in bomb threats here. Anyway, I think you may have a point that the more orthodox victims may be ignored by the media. But what @ctlaw said is also true; the perpetrators intersectionality will also play a major part.  Here locally just today our Mayor railed against anti-Semitism because a political ad had Pepe under a shell accusing the Mayor of playing the shell game with local projects. It was pulled as soon as someone pointed it out. But this same Mayor has zero problems with the anti-Semitism of the Womens March leaders which he supports.  It’s mostly politics not common decency anymore which is the biggest problem in our country right now.  Lack of common decency. 

    • #3
  4. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    The difference is entirely in the identity of the perpetrator. Period! The identity of the victim is otherwise irrelevant.

    That’s part of it.  Another is creative use of the administrative process, such as charging speakers “security fees,” or even, as was apparently done last year in Australia, using the building permit process to prevent the construction of a synagogue due to terrorism concerns.

    Concern = Prove to us that your synagogue won’t be a magnet for terrorism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYyOQjaBx7E

    • #4
  5. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    The difference is entirely in the identity of the perpetrator. Period! The identity of the victim is otherwise irrelevant.

    That’s part of it. Another is creative use of the administrative process, such as charging speakers “security fees,” or even, as was apparently done last year in Australia, using the building permit process to prevent the construction of a synagogue due to terrorism concerns.

    Concern = Prove to us that your synagogue won’t be a magnet for terrorism.

    This new-ish approach of holding one group (or person) responsible for the reactions of another group (or person) is bizarre. How is the one group or person supposed to control the behavior of the perpetrator? We are capitulating to the mob that lacks (or won’t exercise) self-control.

    You can’t speak (or you must pay for extra security) because somebody else can’t or won’t control themselves. You can’t dress in a particular way because somebody else can’t or won’t control himself. How about enforcing the rules against the people who won’t control themselves?

     

     

    • #5
  6. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    This new-ish approach of holding one group (or person) responsible for the reactions of another group (or person) is bizarre.

    Distributive (aka social) justice began to creep in to the US by the 1920s. Diana West says that a pivotal moment was FDR’s recognition of the USSR, for which the groundwork was laid by the increasing Progressive influence on education particularly in large cities.

    Recent interviews with her analysis here and here; read a discussion of communism and socialism here.

    One could even trace the problem to the Fabians, whose attitude to pre-Revolutionary Russian terrorism prefigured Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic by nearly a century. Gary Saul Morson has a terrific piece at the Weekly Standard giving a brief history of Russian terrorism; he makes a convincing case that it was and is hugely influential:

    Abroad, the radicals would claim that all they wanted were basic civil liberties, but in fact they either rejected Western “freedoms” or favored them only to make revolution easier. They opposed democracy because they knew very well the peasants would never support them. As one historian observes, “Terror seemed easier than beating one’s head against the wall of peasant indifference.” It gave a small group the chance to demoralize the government while creating a mystique of violence to ensure endless recruits. They achieved both these goals.

    Sound familiar? And:

    Terrorism has arisen in many cultures, but Russian terrorism, so far as I know, is unique in one respect: its intimate connection with literature. Not only did great writers like Dostoyevsky and the symbolist Andrei Bely (author of Petersburg) write major novels about terrorism, the terrorists themselves composed riveting memoirs and fiction. Prince Peter Kropotkin, once the world’s most influential anarchist, authored a masterpiece of Russian autobiography, Memoirs of a Revolutionist, and many other terrorists, most notably women, have left classic accounts of terrorist movements. When the assassin Sergei Kravchinsky escaped to Europe and assumed the name Stepniak, he became internationally famous for both his history Underground Russia: Revolutionary Profiles and Sketches from Life and his novel Career of a Nihilist. Still more amazing, Boris Savinkov, the longtime leader of Russia’s most important terrorist organization, responsible for spectacular killings of high officials, also published his Memoirs of a Terrorist as well as three novels about terrorists. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether terrorist experience demanded literary treatment or was chosen to provide compelling literary material.

    Today’s intelligentsia still loves revolutionary violence.

    In power, they hold all members of subject groups responsible for their fellows; the tyrant’s own group has free rein to oppress the subjects even without specific orders. If you have more than one subject group, you create a negative sum situation wherein each group seeks to ingratiate itself with the tyrant by informing on the others.

    If you control education, you use it to destroy the family structure of the subjects and even induce children to inform on their parents.

    • #6
  7. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

     

    In one sense, obviously any crime is a crime.  Why would we treat anti-semitic crimes any differently than any other crimes?  Same with “hate” crimes against any other sort of group.

    The problem, of course, is that a crime becomes a hate crime because of the victim.  In your OP, you say “a Jewish shopkeeper’s window was shot out, in what was a potential anti-semitic crime.”  Well, any time there is a Jewish victim, it is a potential anti-semitic crime.  I’m reminded of what is something of a cliche, with the old Jewish guy who blames everything on anti-semitism.  The dry-cleaning didn’t come out the way he wanted; his soup was cold, etc… etc…  and I think this is a problem in the way we approach a lot of these things.  We live in a very identity-politics-centric age right now, but that strikes me as a bad thing.

    We should prosecute crimes, and we should prosecute all crimes.  We should not create special classes of crimes (based solely on the status of the victims) that get treated differently than others.

    • #7
  8. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Most people cannot help but worry less about “those others.” This is one reason why it is so hard to love each person; it is not easy to love people whom we do not understand and/or make us feel defensive about our own choices.

    Nevertheless, that is the commandment: to love your fellow as you love yourself. It is an ongoing challenge for all people who strive to be good.

    • #8
  9. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    iWe (View Comment):

    Most people cannot help but worry less about “those others.” This is one reason why it is so hard to love each person; it is not easy to love people whom we do not understand and/or make us feel defensive about our own choices.

    Nevertheless, that is the commandment: to love your fellow as you love yourself. It is an ongoing challenge for all people who strive to be good.

    Well said iWe. This past weekend there were 43 people shoot with 5 deaths in Chicago.  This happens almost every week. We need to pray for them as well . Lives are shattered there the same as in my home town of Pittsburgh. People are people.

    • #9
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Most people cannot help but worry less about “those others.” This is one reason why it is so hard to love each person; it is not easy to love people whom we do not understand and/or make us feel defensive about our own choices.

    Nevertheless, that is the commandment: to love your fellow as you love yourself. It is an ongoing challenge for all people who strive to be good.

    Well said iWe. This past weekend there were 43 people shoot with 5 deaths in Chicago. This happens almost every week. We need to pray for them as well . Lives are shattered there the same as in my home town of Pittsburgh. People are people.

    I wish that Candace Owens would be mayor of Chicago that city isn’t doing too good.

    • #10
  11. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    I wish that Candace Owens would be mayor of Chicago that city isn’t doing too good.

    Pundits usually make terrible leaders.

    • #11
  12. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    I am not generally favorable to  the idea of “hate crimes”, but these crimes against “ultra-orthodox” Jews are definitely crimes of intimidation.  Open and defiantly  pious displays of religiosity obviously upset our Progressive betters, particularly such obvious displays from Orthodox Jews. These displays are in a way a form of speech – speech that defiantly worships God –  and to our Progressive Overlords all speech must now kowtow to the narrow Progressive Atheist ideal or it is to be suppressed and at times suppressed violently if deemed necessary.  

    So in the mind of the radical Progressive these acts of violence against Jews are justified in order to maintain Progressive obedience. To them , defiance of the ruling collective Progressive will is not be allowed and needs to  be punished. As On the Left wrote “Today’s intelligentsia still loves revolutionary violence.”.  

    • #12
  13. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Unsk (View Comment):

    I am not generally favorable to the idea of “hate crimes”, but these crimes against “ultra-orthodox” Jews are definitely crimes of intimidation. Open and defiantly pious displays of religiosity obviously upset our Progressive betters, particularly such obvious displays from Orthodox Jews. These displays are in a way a form of speech – speech that defiantly worships God – and to our Progressive Overlords all speech must now kowtow to the narrow Progressive Atheist ideal or it is to be suppressed and at times suppressed violently if deemed necessary.

    So in the mind of the radical Progressive these acts of violence against Jews are justified in order to maintain Progressive obedience. To them , defiance of the ruling collective Progressive will is not be allowed and needs to be punished. As On the Left wrote “Today’s intelligentsia still loves revolutionary violence.”.

    No “but”. Ever.

    Prosecute for battery, etc. When appropriate, prosecute for conspiracy, incitement, etc.

    Once you acknowledge the legitimacy of the concept of a “hate crime” the inevitable result is that whatever is defined by those in power as “hate” will be punished (even without a crime) and crime absent “hate” will go unpunished.

    • #13
  14. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I agree entirely… there should be no thought crimes. 

    • #14
  15. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    iWe (View Comment):

    I agree entirely… there should be no thought crimes.

    I used to think hate crime laws were a good idea but the great Nat Hentoff persuaded me otherwise.

    • #15

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