U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D- Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) yesterday vowed to end the violence and acts of hatred towards Jews.
Clarke’s comments came as Anti-Semitic attacks have continued to rise across the city including a string of Anti-Semitic attacks within a three-day span of the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday, according to NBC News.
“I am deeply appalled by the recent spew of anti-Semitic hate crimes in our city, especially during Hanukkah, the season of celebrating our light overcoming darkness. I am proud to serve a diverse community that has come together to rise in the face of hate and to protect and uplift our neighbors–that is the Brooklyn way,” said Clarke.
“New York’s 9th Congressional District is home to some of America’s oldest Jewish communities and I will continue to fight to ensure their culture is respected and that their community is protected. Violence toward our Jewish community will not be tolerated under any circumstances. My office will continue to monitor and work with local officials and law enforcement to end this violence and acts of hatred and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Clarke quotes.
According to media reports, police are investigating two of the attacks in Crown Heights. The first confirmed attack happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 24 on Kingston Avenue, a 25-year old man told police that when passing by a group on the sidewalk, he heard someone from amongst them shout “f**ck you” before throwing the contents of a Slurpee on him.
A few hours later on Union Avenue, a 50-year-old-man was on his way to the synagogue, when he was punched in the back of the head and knocked down, according to a video of the incident.
Additionally, at about 1 a.m. Christmas, Dec. 25, on 13th Avenue in Brough Park a 40-year-old man was allegedly punched in the face by a suspect who quickly fled the scene. The police are not investigating this as a hate crime, according to media reports.
Besides the increasing violence aimed at religious Jews, the uptick in these crimes is becoming a hot political issue, particularly in Clarke’s district, where she is expected to have a competitive Democratic Primary race next year.
Among those rumored to challenging Clarke is City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest, Midwood), who if he runs could get a heavy Jewish vote in the district, while Clarke could split the black vote with challenger Adem Bunkeddeko.
Deutsch who’s also been courting the Asian and Muslim community vote, has been increasingly vocal on anti-Semitic attacks.
“As the world celebrates the holiday season, NYC Jews are beaten on the streets. In the last the last few days, there have been four anti-Semitic incidents, including three violent assaults. One occurred in broad daylight. Safety is our right, not a privilege,” wrote Deutsch on his Twitter.
However, aside from becoming a political issue, the increase of anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn is causing concern among other religious Jewish electeds.
Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstien (D-Borough Park, Midwood) commented that he hasn’t seen this level of fear in all his time as an assembly member.
“These last couple of days we’ve seen up to five separate anti- Sematic attacks. Where is the outcry? If we are truly diverse like we say we are then this shouldn’t just be about the Jewish community. Every community needs to be up in arms about this. It’s a crisis and we need to address it as such.”