Jewish leaders excoriate Mayor de Blasio amid rise of antisemitic violence
In the room
Mayoral Photography Office
Amid a dramatic wave of antisemitic violence, Jewish community leaders excoriated NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio during a roundtable — which was closed to the media — in Borough Park on Thursday, Jewish Insider has learned.
According to several attendees who spoke on condition of anonymity, community leaders challenged the mayor over his response to the situation and expressed their disaffection about a lack of coordination with local NYPD precincts.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, de Blasio said, “It’s going to take a lot of work at the grassroots to change hearts and minds. We have got to get to the day, and we’ve got to get there soon, where Jewish people in the city never have to worry about walking down the street, never have to worry about their safety.”
During the meeting, one of the leaders criticized the Democratic mayor for “politicizing” the issue of antisemitism by “pointing fingers” at President Trump, according to audio obtained by Jewish Insider. De Blasio pushed back, insisting that “the reality is” that the president “unleashed the forces of hatred” and it would be “dishonest” to claim that the threat doesn’t come from white supremacists and the alt-right.
De Blasio also defended critics of Israel in the Democratic Party, emphasizing that it is generally directed at the Netanyahu government. He added, “I am a Democrat, I am progressive, but I also went to the AIPAC [conference] purposely to make a message that all of us should be able to very clearly call out antisemitism, and we should be ready to oppose BDS and we should be ready to support Israel. But if see something that needs to be called out, I want to hear about it. I think we will probably agree 99 percent of the time. What I am not hearing so much is local leaders in New York City being antisemitic.”
De Blasio also defended the new state bail reform law which eliminates cash bail for those accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies, including non-violent hate crimes, though he pledged to work to change parts of the legislation.