New York City mayor accused of singling out Jewish community

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews attend a funeral in Brooklyn, defying social distancing rules, prompting police to give warnings and break up the gathering.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is being accused of unfairly singling out the Hasidic Jewish community, in enforcing COVID-19 restrictions.

He personally called on police to disperse hundreds of mourners, who gathered for a rabbi’s funeral, defying social distancing rules.

He was furious the gathering took place at all, and mentioned the Jewish community by name in a tweet, saying the time for warnings has passed and arrests would be made of those who gather in large groups.

Some called on the mayor to apologize, resign, or called him anti-Jewish. Saying it was unfair for him to single out all Jews when it was just some from the Hasidic Orthodox community who gathered for the funeral. But the issue divided New York: Others expressed support for the mayor, and defended him calling out the funeral gathering.

On Wednesday, the mayor said he was not trying to single out the Jewish community, but did not back down from his criticism.

The Hasidic Jewish community in New York does not need to look too far to see the dangers of large gatherings and contracting coronavirus. The rabbi whose funeral everyone was at died from it.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo has more from New York.

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