This past Tuesday, a security camera in Williamsburg Brooklyn caught a young man sneaking up on a Hasidic Jew on the street and punching the back of his head. This attack appeared to be completely random, with no provocation. The young man then fled the scene. As if this event is not shocking and troubling enough, just a few hours later uptown, a New York City policeman called an Orthodox driver “a stupid Jew.”
The driver was trying to get into the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Because of traffic, he wasn’t able to change lanes, and he attempted to make a turn from the middle lane. According to a report in Yeshiva World News, the officer walked over to his car, took one look at him and exclaimed, “You can’t make a right turn, you stupid Jew.”
While the incident itself was not captured on camera, the driver parked his car, followed the cop and filmed him on his cellphone, asking for the cop’s badge number. “I didn’t mean what I said, I apologized to the other gentleman,” the cop admitted.
But wait, there’s more. Over Shabbos, a hasidic man in Williamsburg was punched in the face and called antisemitic slurs according to Yeshiva World News. And yesterday, a group of yeshiva students in Far Rockaway were taking a class picture outside of their school when passersby screamed “Kill the Jews.”
The rate at which antisemitism is getting normalized is terrifying. I got to thinking about how the attacks and slurs on Orthodox Jews (the ones who are the most visibly Jewish) are increasing at the same time that the attacks and open hatred towards Israel and Zionists are increasing. The Orthodox Jews are “backwards and extreme.” The Zionists are “racist colonialists.”
It’s almost as if there’s only one kind of good Jew to be these days – the kind that is not too Jewish or too pro-Israel. That kind of Jew is still being tolerated. For now. But the problem is, if the anti-Semites come after the Orthodox Jews and the Zionists today, they will eventually come after all the Jews.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.