The Corner

Politics & Policy

Incompetent De Blasio Scapegoats the Jews

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at an indoor training center at the USTA Billie Jean King United States Tennis Center, which will be partially converted into temporary hospital during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, March 31, 2020. (Stefan Jeremiah/Reuters)

Can anyone in their wildest imaginations picture the below tweet being directed at the any other minority in the city of New York — African Americans or the gay community or the Muslims celebrating Ramadan? Can you imagine the blowback if it were?

A week after Jews observed Yom HaShoah, de Blasio thought it would be a good idea to announce to his 1.5 million Twitter followers that he had instructed the city’s police department to crack down on the “Jewish community.”

For one thing, tons of people ignore his social distancing orders — just hours before de Blasio’s tweet, thousands of New Yorkers were breaking those rules when watching Blue Angels jets fly by. Parks are filled with New Yorkers who would be unable to social distance even if they so desired. The mayor must be aware of this trend, since he himself feels free to lumber around Prospect Park, miles away from his home.

Singling out Jews — as if they were a monolithic cultural group — and intimating that they hold some special responsibility for spreading death and sickness that’s afflicted NYC is a high-tech version of blaming the Jews for poisoning the wells during the Black Plague.

De Blasio might not walk around quoting Louis Farrakhan, but he is a product of a New York political culture that sometimes engages in Jew-baiting and often tolerates it. And this feeds an uglier problem. Under the de Blasio administration, anti-Semitism has soared in New York City. Violent anti-Semitism. The mayor surely knows that the Hasidic Jews, the people who bear the brunt of that violence, are not exactly active social-media users. His tweet was meant to project anger at the “Jewish community,” not to speak to them.

It’s one thing to engage in political battles with various factions in the city — and Hasidic Jews participate in these scrums as well as anyone — and another to scapegoat one group. Let’s note that the Hasidic funeral by this small sect that upset de Blasio was reportedly approved by the New York police department, which brought trucks with barriers to close off the surrounding area. The group apologized for the members who broke social-distancing rules.

If anyone needs to apologize to New York, a place that has not only been hit harder than any city but most countries, it’s de Blasio. In early March, the mayor was still telling New Yorkers “to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus.” It would take thousands of words to detail his soaring ineptitude, but you can read lists of grievances from both right and left. De Blasio, in fact, might be the only politician in the nation whose failures can unite us.

The problem isn’t that de Blasio is a socialist; it’s that he’s an utterly incompetent socialist who has bungled every political issue ever put in front of him. He is likely the worst mayor of New York in modern history. And that’s saying something.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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