New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tweet scolding the “Jewish community” after a Brooklyn funeral was broken up by police for allegedly violating social distancing requirements encapsulates his troubling approach toward anti-Semitism in the city, Ben Shapiro said Wednesday.
“He has the gall to suggest ‘We won’t tolerate anti-Semitism in New York’? What a fool he is,” the “The Ben Shapiro Show” host said.
The funeral of Rabbi Chaim Mertz in the ultra-Orthodox Williamsburg section of Brooklyn appeared to draw a large crowd, as images of the scene surfaced on social media Tuesday.
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” de Blasio tweeted later that evening. “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.”
The mayor’s response drew swift condemnation. While critics did not appear to dispute whether the funeral was a violation of social distancing rules — which call for people to remain at least six feet apart and limit large gatherings — they questioned de Blasio’s language toward the city’s Jewish population months after a rash of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York metropolitan area.
“Let me point out that failure to abide by social distancing has no specific race and no specific religion because it is not tied to race and religion,” Shapiro responded.
“Can you imagine if de Blasio said ‘We have higher rates of transmission in the black community so I’m telling them if you don’t stop gathering in large crowds I’m going to send the NYPD to arrest you?’ Would de Blasio ever say that? Of course not, because it’s absurd. But de Blasio is perfectly willing to single out the Jewish community,” the outspoken conservative continued.
Shapiro emphasized that while he is not defending those who violate social distancing orders, de Blasio’s failure to call out people who appeared to be ignoring the rules during Tuesday’s Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels flyover shows a glaring double standard.
“De Blasio singled out the Jewish community and he didn’t just say ‘this little subsection of Williamsburg,’ he said ‘the Jewish community’ more broadly, as though like all the Jews on Broadway were getting together in their off-hours and gathering in large groups,” said Shapiro.
“Let’s make this clear. The vast majority of Orthodox communities around the United States are shut down. My shul shut down before the lockdown orders in California. There is one particular area in Williamsburg, where… they’re still gathering. This is bad across the board. No groups should be doing this,” but “is the Jewish community the only group of people in New York who have gathered together?” he went on.
De Blasio addressed the matter on Wednesday, saying at a press briefing that he spoke out of “frustration” and “anger” after witnessing the crowd but that the message was sent with “tough love.”
“He is truly the worst mayor in America,” Shapiro said. “He is an actually horrible person.”
Satmar Headquarters, the Hassidic community who hosted the funeral, put out a statement late Tuesday saying the “Funeral was originally approved and actually organized by @NYPDnews 2 hours b4 it started, PD brought trucks with barriers/tower lights to close off Bedford Avenue and the surrounding area. It’s the @NYCMayor’s Dept who originally approved it before deciding to take it back.”
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea acknowledged during Wednesday’s conference that members of his department had in fact spoken with community leaders to discuss “what to expect at that location” ahead of the funeral, but added that the gathering had turned out to be larger than anticipated.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
I’m an Activist. I love justice and equality, love beyond colors, and oneness that transcends borders. Welcome to my world.