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Tags: jewish leaders | ny | mask ban | antisemitism

Jewish Leaders: Reinstate New York Mask Ban

By    |   Wednesday, 12 June 2024 10:51 PM EDT

Confronting a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents, several Jewish community leaders in New York City are advocating for the revival of an anti-mask law to prevent protesters from concealing their identities during hate-fueled demonstrations, the New York Post reported.

In the face of escalating antisemitic hostilities in New York City, Jewish leaders have spoken out in favor of resurrecting an anti-mask statute once employed to combat the Ku Klux Klan's hooded anonymity. An alarming increase in hate crimes against Jews has prompted this call for action, with such incidents soaring by 150% in May, as reported by the NYPD.

The urgency was underscored on Monday when a group of protesters, faces shielded by masks and other coverings, commandeered a subway train, demanding that passengers they labeled "Zionists" identify themselves, followed by a threat to "get out."

Demonstrators at Union Square further underscored tensions by displaying a cryptic banner proclaiming "Long Live October 7." Adding to the unease is the recent defilement of Jewish board members' homes at the Brooklyn Museum with red paint.

These expressions of hate have sent chills through the community, with some fearing parallels to the oppressive atmosphere of 1930s Germany. Mark Treyger, head of the Jewish Community Relations Council, characterized the current situation as a crisis necessitating immediate countermeasures to protect New York's Jewish population and its broader citizenry.

"This is a crisis, an emergency. We need a comprehensive plan to stop the rising tide of antisemitism to protect Jewish New Yorkers and all New Yorkers," he told the Post.

Anti-Defamation League's regional director, Scott Richman, emphasized the historical effectiveness of anti-mask laws in rendering the Ku Klux Klan powerless and insisted it could play a pivotal role now.

"A mask law will make a difference," he told the Post.

NYPD data further demonstrates the gravity of the situation, contrasting this year's 173 antisemitic hate crimes against the 101 recorded in the entirety of 2023.

In response, Assemblyman Michael Reilly, R-Staten Island, has laid the groundwork for legislative change by proposing a bill to reinstate the mask ban. The bill focuses on the anonymity that allows such hatred and violence to go unpunished.

Legal voices, including Matthew Schweber from the Columbia University Jewish Alumni Association, have questioned the protection such masked protests receive under the First Amendment, citing their nature of targeted harassment and violence promotion.

"These protests are not protected under the First Amendment because they are engaged in targeted harassment and incitement of violence," he said.

The original mask ban, stretching back to the 1800s and addressing concerns well beyond racial hate groups, was annulled in 2020 amid COVID-19's peak when facial coverings became a public health necessity. The repeal drew support from figures like New York Attorney General Letitia James and the New York Civil Liberties Union, who feared the law could be misused against minorities.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Confronting a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents, several Jewish community leaders in New York City are advocating for the revival of an anti-mask law to prevent protesters from concealing their identities during hate-fueled demonstrations, the New York Post reported.
jewish leaders, ny, mask ban, antisemitism
474
2024-51-12
Wednesday, 12 June 2024 10:51 PM
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