A tightly-packed funeral procession of Orthodox Jews attracted the ire of Bill de Blasio, but netizens had something to say about the mayor’s own distancing policy and said his outburst had “invited anti-Semitism.”
The New York City mayor tweeted his anger at members of Brooklyn’s Jewish community who gathered on Tuesday night for the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Mertz. “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” he wrote.
Photos of the procession were circulated in the media, with many of the participants visibly defying social distancing rules, while others wore no face masks. De Blasio himself was at the scene as the NYPD dispersed the gathering.
Tipster says this is the Williamsburg funeral today of Rabbi Chaim Mertz who died from COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/wsTvCrlzpb
— Reuven Blau (@ReuvenBlau) April 29, 2020
The mayor said he has instructed the police to issue summonses or even arrest anyone convening in large groups. “What I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the coronavirus,” he wrote afterward.
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.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
While some believe De Blasio’s demand looked legitimate in the middle of the Covid-19 epidemic that has killed nearly 23,000 New Yorkers do date, it still triggered a huge backlash online, with users accusing him of singling out Jews and even of being blatantly anti-Semitic.
“This has to be a joke. Did the Mayor of NYC really just single out one specific ethnic community (a community that has been the target of increasing hate crimes in HIS city) as being noncompliant?” asked Chaim Deutsch, who represents Orthodox Jews in the City Council.
Twitter users also recalled other initiatives by De Blasio that ran contrary to the strict social distancing policy that he is preaching.
Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Central Park: A large group of people gathered in Central Park. When #NYC Mayor #BillDeblasio heard about it, he went there himself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. Upon arrival, he saw that it’s not #Jews so he left right away. pic.twitter.com/y0pVACJjAl
— Dovi Stern (@DoviSternNYC) April 29, 2020
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