New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio considers anti-Semitism a right-wing phenomenon.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the threat of anti-Semitism is from the right when asked about the steep rise in anti-Semitism from the left, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
“I think the ideological movement that is anti-Semitic is the right-wing movement,” the mayor, who is running for president in 2020, said at a press conference in Brooklyn about hate crimes in New York City.
De Blasio’s comments were met with criticism. “I don’t agree with the mayor,” Chaim Deutsch, a Brooklyn Democrat, who serves on the City Council, told the New York Post.
“I have not seen any white supremacists coming in here committing these hate crimes,” he said.
Last week, NYC’s Police Department released statistics showing an 83 percent spike from Jan. 1, 2019 to May 19, 2019 in the number of reported hate crimes. Fifty-nine percent were anti-Semitic in nature.
Although the numbers are still small — with 184 total hate crimes this year through June 2, 2019, as opposed to 112 during the same period last year — the sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks have “especially concerned elected officials and Jewish community leaders,” the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports.
As a result, De Blasio said at the Tuesday press conference that he would move up the scheduled opening of a new hate crime prevention office, the Eagle says.
“That was originally slated to open up in November. I’m announcing that we will open that office this summer. We’re speeding up that opening. We’re working with the council to get it up and running immediately,” de Blasio said to reporters, the Daily Eagle reported.
There is disagreement within the Jewish community as to whether the greater danger is from anti-Semites on the right or the left of the political spectrum.
In a recent op-ed, columnist Jonathan Tobin accused U.S. Jews of ignoring anti-Semitic threats from the left because it “doesn’t fit the narrative about hatred that most American Jews think makes sense,” namely, that anti-Semitism is caused by rednecks instigated by President Donald Trump.