Could the Crown Heights riots happen again?

“The most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history,” as historian Edward S. Shapiro describes it, took place exactly 30 years ag...


“The most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history,” as historian Edward S. Shapiro describes it, took place exactly 30 years ago when a crowd took to the streets of Crown Heights, a Brooklyn, NY. Rioters killed an Orthodox Jew. and beat tens. Thousands of people were forced into hiding as windows smashed, police kept watch and Mayor David Dinkins stayed away. Members of the crowd shouted “Hitler should have finished the job” and “Death to the Jews”. Yet, then and now, many Liberals were reluctant to pass judgment.

The Lubavitcher Orthodox Jewish population has been increasing in Crown Heights since 1940, but the neighborhood around it has changed. In 1960, Crown Heights was 71% white and 27% black. In 1970, the numbers had changed. In 1990, there were about 80% black, including a large Caribbean-American population.

What happened is not a mystery. As Jimmy Breslin wrote in 1993, “Across America, wherever a large group of blacks settles, every white in sight runs away.” The Irish, Italians and other Jews left Crown Heights. But “the Lubavitches don’t run,” Breslin wrote. “These people with hats and beards are better than all the other white people because they stayed and everyone ran away.” They may not have walked for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, but they haven’t run out into the suburbs either.

On the night of Monday August 19, 1991, the Lubavitcher rabbi was returning home after visiting a cemetery. The third and last car of its procession, driven by Yosef Lifsh, had fallen behind and accelerated to catch up. Either running a red light or turning an amber light, his car collided with another at an intersection in Crown Heights. He veered onto the sidewalk and collided with 7-year-old cousins ​​Gavin and Angela Cato. Gavin was killed, Angela seriously injured.

Mr. Lifsh came out and tried to help him, but a mob started hitting him and his passengers. Neighboring police struggled to keep the situation under control until two ambulances arrived, one from Hatzalah, an Orthodox Jewish voluntary organization, and the other from the town. Thinking quickly, the officers ordered Hatzalah to pick up the injured Lubavitches, while the town’s medics attended to the children. This sparked a rumor that the Jewish ambulance service only looked after Jews and left Gavin Cato to die.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Could the Crown Heights riots happen again?
Could the Crown Heights riots happen again?
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