The 90th Precinct squats in a faded tan building on Union Avenue in Brooklyn. There are dirty windows and protruding air conditioners. During Chanukah, a testament to its presence in one of the densest Jewish neighborhoods in the city, the Williamsburg police precinct puts up a large menorah.
The 90th was also the precinct at the center of multiple hate crime attacks on Jews caught on tape.
But the overall winner for the highest number of hate crime complaints was the 71st Precinct with 18 complaints. Of those, 14 were labeled as “anti-Jewish”, another as anti-White, another as anti-gay and two as ambiguous. All but one of the suspects arrested in the attacks in the 71st were black men.
Note the official use of “anti-Jewish” rather than “anti-Semitic”. Our recommended vocabulary is gaining traction.
The 71st is located in Crown Heights while the 90th is based out of Williamsburg. Both have some of the largest populations of Chassidic Jews, who dress distinctively and are easily identifiable, in the country.
“I want to be very, very clear, the violent threat, the threat that is ideological is very much from the right,” Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted, in response to numbers showing a 90% rise in anti-Semitic incidents, while denying that anti-Semitism exists on the Left.
I want to be very, very clear: de Blasio is out of touch with reality.
In Williamsburg and Crown Heights, populations of Orthodox Jews intersect with African-American and Latino populations, and a new wave of hipsters. All three groups live uncomfortably with each other. None of them host the “white supremacist” movement that De Blasio was blaming for the problem.
The two non-Orthodox groups in Williamsburg and Crown Heights are strongly identified with the Left.
Mayor Bill de Blasio may be under the impression that because Trump won precincts in Williamsburg, the area is a right-wing hub, but the 6 of 8 districts that he won are made up of Chassidic Jews.
As the media noted after the election, “Nearly every election district that Trump won in Brooklyn was in a Jewish neighborhood.”
They’re about the only Trump supporters in the area. And they’re the victims of the violence.
Jews were the single largest group targeted in the 18th, Midtown Manhattan, with 5 incidents, the 24th, the Upper West Side, with 12 incidents, the 66th, Borough Park, with 14 incidents, the 60th, Coney Island and Brighton Beach, with 10, the 6th, Greenwich Village, with 5, and the 90th with 8.
Many of these neighborhoods are heavily associated with Jews, but even in Greenwich Village, the home of Stonewall and the gay rights movement, there were more anti-Semitic incidents than anti-gay ones.
None of them are ideal platforms for a white supremacist movement.
In Borough Park, Trump won 69% of the vote. A New York Times reporter was unable to find a single Hillary voter. And that’s as close as the area gets to any kind of right-wing movement.
Who’s actually carrying out these attacks?
Who do you think?
Asians are not known for engaging in anti-Semitic hate crimes. But Borough Park has large Chinese, Bangladeshi and Uzbekistani populations. It seems likelier that the perpetrators may have spoken Bengali or Uzbek than Fujianese. Muslims would have more of an anti-Semitic motive than Buddhists.
We still have work to do. On pure theoretical grounds, Buddhism should be one of the most anti-Zionist religions. That in practice it is currently not is a consequence of
Compstat statistics leave plenty of room for ambiguity. What is reasonably clear though is that the rash of cases, especially the violent assaults, are not about white supremacy.
Which should be obvious, considering Jews themselves are white supremacists, even by their own admission:
Last fall, a Jewish teen walking home from his Yeshiva in Queens was violently assaulted by a gang of teens shouting, “Kill the Jew” outside Masbia, a soup kitchen run by a Jewish religious organization.
Good, but hopefully next time they actually succeed in doing what they say they want to do. Have they considered purchasing firearms?