As a New York Jew who doesn’t look particularly Jewish, I’m not sure how to react to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s response to the assault on Thursday on what he characterized as a “visibly Jewish” New Yorker:
I unequivocally condemn these brutal attacks on visibly Jewish New Yorkers.
NY is home to people from all faiths & backgrounds—everyone must be able to walk the streets safely.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 21, 2021
The man, 26, was attacked in Times Square, where dueling protests were being waged by pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups.
Does the governor’s reaction suggest his concern is limited to “visibly Jewish” residents only, in which case am I on my own if I get jumped? And what makes a person “visibly Jewish” anyway? According to police officials interviewed by CBS News, the victim was wearing a yarmulke, or skull cap. So was that the “tell”? If so, how does one distinguish between “visible” Jews and “visible” Muslims, who also wear skullcaps, called kufis? (RELATED: Palestinians go on strike amid airstrikes, rocket fire)
And when did Cuomo become such a friend to Jews in his state? In 2020, Newsweek — hardly a right-leaning outlet — blasted Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for settling on the Jews as their “COVID-19 ‘super spreader’ scapegoat of choice”:
In a Monday press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo did not merely single out New Rochelle, in Westchester County, as the first outbreak hotspot — he emphasized, for good measure, the “Orthodox Jewish” identity of the culprit. “We know religious gatherings have been a problem … for weeks,” he continued, belying any semblance of neutrality as to which particular community he had in mind when TV producers flashed images of black hat-clad Haredi Jews across the screen. In Kafkaesque fashion, as Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh pointed out, one of the photos appeared to be from 2006.
Cuomo goes through the motion of feigning outrage whenever an act of anti-Semitism rears its ugly head. In 2020 he roundly condemned the anti-Semitic graffiti that had defaced a building at Hofstra University on Long Island. “I am appalled and disgusted to learn of these heinous acts of hate,” he offered in a statement, adding, “the Jewish community is part of the New York family, and our state has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.” The language is distressingly similar to that in his statement on the Times Square attack. Could it be he’s just cutting and pasting from his pre-fab “outrage file?”