Mayor De Blasio has good reason to show a measure of healthy respect for New York’s orthodox Jewish community.
It would be politically prudent for him to cultivate relations with them and could also help to restore faith in the mayor. After all, he had a fiasco in scapegoating the entire Jewish community for not maintaining health regulations at an April funeral.
After that funeral, De Blasio wrote in a tweet that “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.”
It took a while for De Blasio to realize the tremendous damage he accomplished with his snide tweet. At the time the Jewish community was reeling from thousands of COVID-19 deaths and was doing its utmost to preserve public health regulations. Additionally, that was at at time when the pandemic’s implications were still not fully understood.
Eventually he apologized for his tweet and recently once again expressed regret for his harsh response at a meeting with the press. He stated that “I understand their suffering, understand the difficulties that the community has gone through. And the fears that people have — rightfully — of discrimination, and that we need to hear each other more and understand each other more.”
Then De Blasio added that “I look back now and understand there was more dialogue needed. I certainly got very frustrated at times when I saw large groups of people still out without masks. But I think more dialogue would have been better. So I certainly want to express my regret that I didn’t figure out how to do that better.”
Well said and well expressed, Bill. However, it seems that dialogue is too often replaced by patronizing reproaches. This might be appropriate if the person giving them lived up to the standards he preaches. In Judaism there is a saying: Beautify yourself first and then beautify others.
This week De Blasio chose once again to preach to the broader community, warning on Monday that “We need to do everything in our power to stop the coronavirus from reasserting in New York City. We have to stop a second wave from happening here, it is getting dangerously close.”
In case it was unclear whom he was referring to, De Blasio said explicitly that “we have
one last chance and everyone has to be a part of it. We’re seeing household transmission. and community spread. There are things we have not seen in a long time – and we have to stop them.”
But just a day or two before, De Blasio had no problem joining the crowds celebrating Biden’s election in Time Square, even though there was absolutely no social distancing. Ok, this wasn’t “household transmission”, it wasn’t “community spread” but it was dead against the rules and regulations.
It seems that when De Blasio sees certain kinds of people he gets frustrated. But when he saw the large crowds congregating and celebrating Biden’s election, somehow he wasn’t frustrated. Rather, he seemed quite enamoured by the situation.
Why didn’t these crowds elicit even a single stern wag of the finger from De Blasio? The hypocrisy is so glaring it is amazing the mayor himself didn’t notice it, but that calls for another Jewish maxim: “All faults a person can see except for his own.”
Time for another apology, De Blasio.