On Tuesday night, after reports of a mass funeral gathering of Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio published a Tweet many found anti-semitic.
The Tweet reads, “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
Critics object to this Tweet because it specifically references the entire NYC Jewish community and no other community in explicit terms.
The funeral was held in honor of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, who died from Covid-19. Photos shared from journalists showed a very large crowd of Hasidic Jews in close proximity to one another.
“The few who don’t social distance should be called out,” said Jonathan Greenblatt Anti-Defamation League CEO on Twitter. “But generalizing against the whole population is outrageous especially when so many are scapegoating Jews.”
A statement by the American Jewish Committee said, “The vast majority of the Jewish community is following the guidelines. You can find us donating blood, raising money to support our neighbors, and in emergency rooms providing critical care. We deserve better from our leaders than generalizations and finger-pointing.”
New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield criticized the Tweet, while rejecting the notion that De Blasio was anti-semetic.
The Mayor later published an apology Tweet. “If in my passion and in my emotion, I said something that was hurtful, I’m sorry about that. I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying we’re going to deal with it very, very aggressively.”
Many civilizations have a long and ugly history of blaming Jews for societal problems, which is partly why many deemed the Tweet offensive.
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