15 Jan Q&A With a Former Assemblyman/Founder of Americans Against Anti-Semitism, Dov Hikind
WAKE UP & ACT–WE DON’T WANT ANY MORE JEWISH BLOOD BEING SHED!
They’re on the Q train heading to Barclays Center. They’re with their family and it’s broad daylight. The train doors are closed. There’s no way to get off. Suddenly, this black guy starts yelling “[Expletive] Jews, [Expletive] Rabbi, you’re not the real Jews.” There’s nowhere to turn. They are terrorized. All the Jews on that train are terrorized.
A man rides the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan for work every day for the last twenty years. He wears a yarmulke on his head. This is Manhattan, so why not? It’s Jew City! He takes his yarmulke off and puts it in his pocket. He’s scared. He doesn’t want the other riders to know he’s Jewish.
“I won’t send my children on a bus or train anymore,” says one mother. “I send them by Uber. I feel safer that way.”
Issac, a 60 year old man, is walking in Manhattan on 41st St. between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. It’s broad daylight. It feels like a safe place. Somebody comes over to him and smacks him in the face. They shout at him, “[Expletive] Jew!” He falls on the floor, but the guy keeps kicking him. It’s midtown Manhattan. There are thousands of people around. No one comes to help him.
These are all true stories that have happened recently. Some of these stories haven’t even made it to the media yet, but we have actual video recordings. This is real. These are incidents that are important for people to know about. Many of the stories are not being recorded and are not being told! People cannot think that shoving it under the rug, that getting slapped and just going home and putting your head under the pillow, is going to make things better. Ignoring it is an injustice to the community! The community, the leaders, and the government officials need to know how bad the situation is!
Do people understand what’s going on? It’s incident after incident! You never know when a sick person is going to look and say, “That’s a Jew!” And the animosity just grows. You could be the nicest, sweetest person in the world, but you’re a Jew. This is what’s going on and it’s having a tremendous effect on people. The man who came over to tell me about taking off his kippah to ride the subway needed to share the story with somebody and he knows how involved I am. Taking off his kippah is a victory for the anti-Semites. We can not let that happen.
– DOV HIKIND
Why do you think there’s more anti-Semitism today than there was five years ago?
It’s a very difficult and complicated question that needs to be studied, but I think it’s a combination of various factors happening in society. People don’t realize how much influence the Farrakhans of the world are having. People are applauding the most vile anti- Semitism that he speaks. People that he represents speak to other people, usually black people, who are also applauding the most vile anti-Semitism imaginable. And that goes along with all the other stuff: Omar and Talib and AOC and Bernie Sanders and Linda Sarsour. It’s all having an effect; it all trickles down and it all plays on the media with tremendous attention being allocated to this “It’s ok to be against Israel/Jews” mentality. It’s kosher to boycott Israel, 1 country out of 192. No other country has this problem with a BDS movement. There’s so much hypocrisy in this “progressive” movement; they don’t have an issue with the violation of human rights in any other country in the world except for Israel, a country surrounded by enemies! The problem has grown worse because good people don’t say anything. It’s when people like Schumer, who are good guys, do absolutely nothing . You know Schumer gets called when they murder Jews and he goes to pay a shiva call; he’s a real courageous guy. He is also against anti-Semitism. All these wonderful people are against anti-Semitism, but they do nothing, they do zilch. You know who I blame? The mayor and the governor. Where were they the last 12 months? Now things are getting out of control.
Are you in favor of the second amendment, the right to bear arms?
Absolutely! The progressive Liberals say they want to protect us but if you notice, the only people they’re protecting are the bad guys. Look at the new ban laws. By the way, the bad guys never have a problem getting guns. And if they don’t have a gun they use a knife and do just as well. So why should we make it hard for decent people, people who work hard and pay their taxes, to get guns. Why shouldn’t we make sure there are a group of people in every synagogue who have a legal weapon and can use it if G-d forbid need be. Look what happened in that church just a few days ago. Usually when people get shot they make a big deal about illegal guns, but here you had a gun that saved the lives of countless people in that church. And the liberal media didn’t make a big deal about it. They should have come out supporting guns, supporting legal guns, where people are trained and go through a lot of screenings to get a gun. If that person didn’t have a gun, how many people would have been murdered? How many people would have been shot dead by that murderer if that man didn’t have a legal gun? It happened in Israel many times where someone had a gun or a weapon and they put the guy out of business. It’s not always going to work; it’s not always going to be perfect, but it’s better than being unarmed!
In five years from now, do you think anti-Semitism in the US will be worse or better than it is right now?
I had a meeting last night with some leaders of the Russian community and other leaders we had at the House. I said to them that I think it’ll be better in 2020. This person said “No! It’ll be 50 times worse!” I hope that’s not true.
Do you think we’re on the brink of another Holocaust?
No, no, no. But we need to be careful and not take things for granted. I have a problem seeing Jews being beaten up; I have a problem seeing Jewish blood being shed. There was too much Jewish blood shed in my family by the Nazis. The point is, that we are in a very precarious situation. I don’t know what will happen in five years from now. If you asked people two years ago about the matzav of Jews in America, they’d say it was great! We have problems every now and then, but we live in a medina shel chesed. But ask any one of those people today how they feel about the future, IF there is a future, and you will get a completely different answer. A 65 year old man who lives in Lawrence said to me, “What is this? Pre-Nazi Germany?” and I get this from so many people. Thank G-d, we’re not living in pre-war Germany, but remember: It all starts with epithets, with swastikas. It starts with breaking a window or other type of damages, and then it leads to assault, and then it leads to murder, etc. It doesn’t start overnight with the most serious crimes being committed. That’s not what happened in Germany or any other place. So if you don’t act immediately when you see a problem, when you see the numbers out of control like the mayor saw and the governor saw, then you need to stop it fast. Where were they? I know they make great speeches, they care, and I’m happy to see State Troopers along with local police at some locations. They’re even at some locations that don’t need protection, but they’re out there and that’s good. But the bottom line is, this has been going on for over a year. Where were they?
So, what do you feel is the answer? What should be done right now?
Having more police is very important, but you need to be smart about it, as well. There need to be decoys for the next six months. Remember the old days when police officers dressed up as Chassidim or other people in the community? They know what to do to get the bad guys off the streets. And there’s another problem now; keeping people in jail. With the new bail laws, you have to kill somebody or beat someone up to end up in jail, otherwise they get out before you end your visit to the doctor. That’s where we’re heading. How did that happen? How did the government allow a bill to be signed that will permit people who commit hate crimes to walk out and do it 5 minutes later and then walk out again 10 minutes later? That has to be more aggressive action. There’s no repercussions, no one’s paying the price. The people who’ve already been arrested don’t know the consequences for that arrest because there are no repercussions. So a young person who commits an act of petty violence or knocks off the hat of a Jew has no actions taken against him. But that’s an act of terror; if someone violates you, that’s a very powerful thing. You don’t forget about that for a very long time. And these are the people being released. We have stories in the paper; some of them you don’t even know about, but I do.
If Rabbi Meir Kahane zt”l was alive today, what do you think he’d be saying?
There are a lot of people who reach out to me and say we need something like that. We need to be stronger, we need to be tougher, and we need to send a message to the authorities. We Jews are sometimes a little bit of patsies; we’re not very strong and when we’re afraid we run. We need to train ourselves. We need to train our young people at the very least. None of this will guarantee anything, but we need to train and be prepared! I don’t want to see eight Jewish children running from two fifteen year olds. Why should that be the case? If somebody is chasing you and they assault you, make sure you beat them up. The answer is not to give us a police car outside of every shul and yeshiva and institution although that’s very nice. When I saw the pictures yesterday outside the Sephardic Center, there were 3 policeman standing against the wall. Now you can say, isn’t that wonderful? I looked at it and said, “Oy vey what is happening?!” Is the answer really to have three police officers at one synagogue that already has great security already in place? THREE police officers. I mean our community will become an armed camp, but there’s a limit to everything. Ultimately they’ll have to take police officers out.
What was your reaction when you found out a couple of weeks ago that the President praised you in his tweet?
The bottom line is, as I told many commentators, I reacted to the nonsense that came out of DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo blaming the President for what’s going on in New York. That’s just outrageous. It’s an attempt to take away responsibility from the two of them; if you blame somebody else, it’s not entirely your fault. He’s the mayor and he’s the governor. They both have unbelievable resources to deal with this if they wanted to. They’re only just waking up. Jews had to be murdered and Jews had to be attacked with knives before they got more serious about things. I still don’t think they have a plan by the way. It’s just not right for them to blame the President. I don’t play politics. I’m a registered Democrat. Do I like everything about the President? No. Do I think he’s the best thing that happened to the Jewish community? Absolutely! No question about that. I was just reacting to the total sheker coming from these two people.
What can you tell us about your organization AmericansAA.org?
AmericansAA.org is an organization that I established to combat antisemitism. I get emails, “What can I do?” It’s not always easy to say do this, do that, but the more people that help and the more people that follow us and come out when we call them, the better. BH we’re growing all over the country and establishing chapters all over including in The Five Towns, New Jersey, and others. We also need everyone to help support us financially at AmericansAA.org. We now have three full-time people working for Americans Against Anti-Semitism and one part-time worker. And it’s all because of the support we’re getting, but we need much more. We’re tax exempt and this is a way for people to be a part of something that is actually helping. We demonstrated against the NY Times and got them to change-you name it! Being outspoken is so important. We’re standing up to people like Bernie Sanders who has this anti- Semite Linda Sarsour working for him and we’re going to go after him in very real ways soon. So we’re trying things. I don’t have the magic pill, no one does. But all Hakodsh Baruch Hu wants from us is to do our part, to do something. Doing nothing is simply not a solution.
Americans Against Antisemitism was established by former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind to bring together a broad cross-section of Americans who are prepared to combat growing antisemitism when and where it’s needed most. Through engaging educational content and social media communications AAA is building its partnership network and volunteer base so that we can continue to mobilize activists on the ground to hotspots of antisemitism throughout the country. It’s only through public pressure that change can be effected, and it’s only through unity that we can generate effective pressure. AAA is working with a host of major organizations, government officials and agencies, as well as grassroots activists towards these simple, but crucial goals.