On the steps of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School, and over the din of Thursday morning traffic, local leaders gathered to condemn rising anti-Semitic violence in New York City.
U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island and Brooklyn) and City Council Member Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) crossed party lines to address mounting safety concerns in the Jewish community.
Yeger called on other elected officials to work to denounce anti-Semitism.
“Condemn the hatred that’s been targeted towards Jews,” Yeger said. “[Anti-semetism has] been going on for the last 5,000 years, we’re used to it.”
According to the most recent NYPD crime statistics, hate crimes are up 77.2 percent this year, with 202 reported through May 23, 2021 as compared to 114 during this same time period last year.
This comes after a reported 26 percent rise from 2018 to 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization dedicated to preventing defamation of Jewish people.
“We are here today to vociferously, unequivocally condemn these acts against our friends, against our neighbors, and to say that we will not tolerate this in New York City.” Malliotakis said. “We will continue to condemn and will come together to fight these terrible crimes that are happening in our city.”
Malliotakis gave recent examples of hate crimes against Jews in the city, including incidents at a Staten Island synagogue, an assault in the diamond district in Manhattan, and the painting of anti-Semitic symbols at a Queens veterans memorial.
“None of this is acceptable,” she said. “We must always err on the side of law and order.”
Malliotakis blamed much of the violence on initiatives aimed at defunding the police and bail reforms that she says have attracted crime across the city.
“People are committing these crimes and they’re getting away with it,” Malliotakis said. “And it shows.”
She went on to blame Mayor Bill De Blasio for his failure to stem violent crime, and said his ThriveNYC program to combat mental health has failed despite rising spending.
Malliotakis ended the press conference by saying many of her colleagues in Congress are spewing rhetoric that is not helpful to the discussion of intolerance towards Jews.
When pressed by Channel 7 on why she hasn’t denounced members of her own party for their rhetoric, Malliotakis said she was not being prohibitive about which party is responsible.
Neither Yeger nor Malliotakis offered legislative solutions to the issue at the conference.