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29 Apr, 2020 08:24

NYC mayor blasted for 'anti-Semitism' after threatening to arrest Jews for flouting Covid-19 distancing rules at rabbi's funeral

NYC mayor blasted for 'anti-Semitism' after threatening to arrest Jews for flouting Covid-19 distancing rules at rabbi's funeral

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.

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.

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.

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council uploaded photos of scores of New Yorkers who flocked to the banks of the Hudson River on Tuesday to watch a spectacular fly-past by two aerobatic teams. The event, meant to honor health workers battling Covid-19, would probably not have made doctors too happy, as it brought people close to each other, increasing the risk of transmitting the virus.

"Also, there are plenty of photos of people in ethnic groups violating the rules but how often do you mention them by name as done tonight to Jews?" the organization asked.

As the outrage mounted, certain users couldn't resist getting personal, calling de Blasio "literally Hitler" and "Nazi." Among them was the former Republican candidate for Congress DeAnna Lorraine who suggested the NYC mayor "has the Reich idea rounding up and arresting people." 

De Blasio found himself in the middle of another controversy this week when he was spotted wandering around from Manhattan to Brooklyn with his wife. He acknowledged that it would be challenging for New Yorkers not to go out and enjoy warm weather during the Covid-19 quarantine before failing that challenge soon afterwards.

Also on rt.com Rules for you, but not for us: DeBlasio appoints wife ‘equity’ czar & strolls in park while New York City remains on lockdown

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