Bill de Blasio Warns of Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe

Mayor Bill de Blasio in the heavily Jewish Boro Park neighborhood last year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigning in Borough Park, Brooklyn last year.

Appearing in front of a prominent Jewish group last night, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned of a rising anti-Semitic tide in Europe and America.

Mr. de Blasio, speaking at a dinner for the ultra-Orthodox Agugath Israel of America, said that the results of recent European Union elections and a spate of events in the United States marked a sustained anti-Semitic threat.

“The danger of anti-Semitism lurks always,” Mr. de Blasio told the crowd in Manhattan. “We always would have thought that our friends in Europe would have learned something, but all over western Europe anti-Semitism is too alive and well. Intolerance of so many kinds is too alive and well.”

The mayor, who has never been shy about commenting on global events, was alluding to the rising clout of far right European political parties openly hostile to Jews. Radical parties made significant gains in Europe-wide elections this past week, unnerving much of the continent’s political establishment.

Mr. de Blasio also lamented a recent outbreak of anti-Semitic graffiti in Brooklyn and a synagogue shooting in Kansas, telling the crowd the NYPD would aggressively defend the city’s Jewish population.

“I can tell you that Commissioner Bratton and Chief Banks and all the men and women of the NYPD are working hard every day to protect us wherever they sense even the possibility of the threat against the Jewish community,” the mayor said. “But it’s so extraordinary how consistent their efforts are of the NYPD to protect all of us, to guard us against the threat of terrorism, to guard us against the intolerance and bias crime.”

Once more, Mr. de Blasio also reiterated his staunch support for Israel. A former councilman who represented a sliver of the heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park, Mr. de Blasio has been a vigorous defender of Israel, especially in the face of movements in his own liberal base to criticize the country’s actions.

Mr. de Blasio also drew fire in January for giving a closed press speech to the right-leaning American Israel Public Affairs Committee, angering liberal Jewish groups that backed him.

“One of the great honors I have is to be mayor of the city on this Earth with the largest Jewish population; it is a true honor and it comes with the obligation to protect our population here,” Mr. de Blasio declared. “The state of Israel does not have enough defenders in the world.” Bill de Blasio Warns of Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe