On Tuesday night, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened members of the “Jewish community” with arrest, for which he has received significant blowback.
When Jewish mourners came together Tuesday night for the funeral service of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, it appears that not all the mourners practiced what the mayor considered proper social distancing. In a series of tweets, de Blasio expressed his outrage. “When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”
In a follow-up tweet, de Blasio was more specific: “My message to the Jewish community and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
In his last tweet, de Blasio seemed to soften his bellicosity a bit, but was still clear that his orders were to be obeyed. “We have lost so many these last two months + I understand the instinct to gather to mourn. But large gatherings will only lead to more death + more families in mourning. We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance.”
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish, shot back in his own tweet: “I can’t imagine de Blasio saying this about any other community. It’s pretty amazing. And for the record, MANY of the leaders of the Jewish community have taken strong stands on social distancing.”
While de Blasio’s Tuesday tweets did single out the Jewish community in New York City (about one million), he has threatened Christians recently as well. In March, de Blasio warned both Jews and Christians that he would take stern action if any of them reopened worship services in April.
“A small number of religious communities,” de Blasio said, “specific churches and synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance [to close during the COVID-19 pandemic] even though it’s so widespread.” One might notice that the mayor used the word guidance rather than orders, but he clearly did not mean his instructions were mere suggestions. “I want to say to all of those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services.”
One might also note that, while de Blasio specifically mentioned Jewish houses of worship (synagogues) and Christian houses of worship (churches), he neglected to say anything about the other prominent religious group in the Big Apple: Muslims.
Actually, de Blasio has recently mentioned the Muslim community. Last week, the mayor announced that the city government will provide 400,000 halal meals — for free — to Muslims in need during their celebration of Ramadan. Lamenting that Muslims are not able to attend mosques during this time of restrictions, de Blasio said, “One of Ramadan’s most noble callings is to feed the hungry.”
This support for the Islamic community of New York City is in stark contrast with de Blasio’s recent warnings to Christians and Jews not to come together for Passover and Easter. To make sure these two groups did not meet, de Blasio said that if they do not listen to his commands, law enforcement in the city “will take additional action up to the point of fines, and potentially closing the building permanently.”
Despite the obvious unconstitutionality of such an action, this is not surprising coming from de Blasio, an ardent leftist. When working as a political organizer for the Quixote Center in Maryland in the 1980s, he traveled with them to Nicaragua to help distribute food and medicine in support of the Sandinista communists, who were fastening a dictatorship upon the country. He later joined the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York, which held fundraisers for the communists in Nicaragua.
It should be recalled that communists are atheistic, by ideology. Writing in The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx called religion “the opiate of the people.” Under communist regimes, Christians and Jews have been regularly persecuted. In Communist China, they also persecute Muslims — about which little is said in the U.S. media.
De Blasio has described himself as an advocate of “democratic socialism,” but students of history know that, before they seized power by force in Russia, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin were just a faction of the Social Democratic Party, calling themselves Bolsheviks.
Writing in The Federalist today, David Marcus called de Blasio “King Herod” (in an allusion to the family that ruled the Jews in collusion with the Roman Empire and killed baby boys in Bethlehem, killed John the Baptist, and opposed Jesus), and said of de Blasio’s tweets, “It was an act of anti-Semitism vile enough that the mayor should resign.”
Marcus added, “We must be absolutely clear about something when considering the nature of this tweet. There is no chance, zero, zilch, that Hizzoner would have singled out any other minority group in such a way. De Blasio would never issue such direct threats at the black, Latino, or Asian communities.”
Marcus is no doubt correct. But attacks upon Jews and Christians are becoming increasingly common in America. As vile as de Blasio is, he is not alone in his bigotry.
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