Op-Ed: I stand with Israel and Yeshiva school independence

City Council Candidate Curtis M. Harris volunteering at the Crown Heights Jewish Center distributing and packaging food.
I am running for City Council because I want to lead next to people, not in front of them. I am the only candidate in the race not controlled by special interest groups. I will stand side by side with my Lubavitch brothers and sisters against racism and hate.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is an anti-Semitic hate movement. Brooklynites should stand against those seeking to attack Israelis through terror and violence. BDS is failing to condemn violence; they protect and defend terrorists.

I will vote in support of all anti-BDS bills. Six city council members abstained on the New York City Council version of the anti-BDS bill in 2016.  An abstention effectively counts as a “No” since a majority of “Yes” votes are required to pass. We want public officials who support us, not who vote against us.

Anti-Semitism has increased all over the world because of numerous factors, including globalization and populism. Anti-Semitic incidents hit an all-time high in 2019. An Anti-Defamation League annual report found more than 2,100 acts of anti-semitic hate; 56 percent increase in assaults and five fatalities.

The record number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn and Crown Heights. More than half of the assaults nationwide took place in the five boroughs of New York City, including 25 in Brooklyn alone.

As a civic leader born and raised in Brooklyn, I will continue to speak out against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and extremism. As the next councilman for District 35, I will work with my congressional colleagues to increase funding for nonprofit security grants for synagogues, and other religious congregations, schools, and community centers.

Efforts to single Israel out for unwarranted criticism and punishment across the international system have significant roots in anti-Semitism. This anti-Semitic hatred has a long, shameful, and murderous history contrary to our fundamental values as New Yorkers and Americans.

I am a father of 6 children, and I am unimpressed with how the City has handled the education system. Parents have to do what is best for their children without any outside interference. The City must leave Yeshiva schools alone and allow parents to control their children’s education, not governments. If New York City is interested in improving education, it should focus on its schools.

Deborah Lipstadt, author of “Denying the Holocaust,” says that “antisemitism begins with the Jews, but never ends with the Jews.” As my Jewish neighbors stood with me against racism, I will stand with them because we’re all in this together under one umbrella against hate and discrimination in Brooklyn and Israel.Op-Ed: I Stand with Israel and Yeshiva School Independence

Curtis M. Harris is a candidate in New York City Council District 35

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