Thursday, April 06, 2006

Boro Park Riots - Part 7

A MUST READ!! DailyNews: The trouble in Brooklyn between the Hasidic community and the police brings us to the point of discussing yet another episode of unrest. It also pushes us smack-dab into the complex subject of favoritism toward Jews or that old favorite, anti-Semitism. Well, which is it? Is the Jewish community treated too well, too harshly or neither? Reality is far more complicated than convenient stereotypes would suggest. Some will always sneer that everyone knows that Jews get away with almost anything in New York because of their money and political power. Such people will point at the cops who are hopping mad because there were only a few arrests, even after protesting Hasidic Jews set fire to garbage in the street. There is the feeling that a decision was made to go easy on them, something that would not have happened in Spanish Harlem or black Harlem or East New York or ... you get the point. One cop says that whenever a new officer comes on the force, the unwritten law of where and when you can use force is made clear, usually in whispers. "You find out," says an officer, "that there is less risk if you crack open a black man's head or have to rough up some guy with a Spanish last name. Neither one of them might be 'connected,' and being connected to someone in power is the name of the game." Such stories persist - as do others that foment distrust on the flip side of the ledger. Some veteran black cops will say, off the record, that they know Jewish cops who have bumped up against prejudice within the NYPD. That is why they are not represented near the top in the kinds numbers that Irish and Italian cops are. Hmm. And lest we accept the favoritism line, hook, line and sinker, some will remind us that being Jewish is no guarantee that you will not be shot down like a dog. Recall the mentally ill Gidone Busch, who, while wielding a hammer, was fired upon 12 times by police. The accused police officers were acquitted. Beyond the suspicions, the stereotypes and the counterstereotypes, what we have is a big fat mess in which the cops are accused of using excessive force to arrest an older Jewish man who officers claim was talking on a cell phone while driving and refused to come along quietly. Two other men who put in their two cents worth were also arrested. Then the anger spilled into the streets. We will get through it, but few of the people who the police feel should have been arrested will end up behind bars. Perhaps that is less about money and power than it is about having uncharacteristic unrest in a typically quiet community. If that is the case, the neighborhood was allowed to slide for a relatively good reason. It is hard to tell when and if simplistic false impressions will give way to complex realities. We can be sure, however, that it will be a long time before many give up the notion that Jewish lives get special treatment, regardless of what laws are broken. I think that is a crock, but it is too well-loved an assumption for many to surrender - regardless of all evidence to the contrary.......
xmlns:dc="" xmlns:trackback=""> -->

<< Home