NEW YORK (VINnews) — NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an apology on Monday for a tweet sent last week that profiled the Jewish community.
The Mayor held a conference call with Orthodox Jewish media outlets on Monday. During the call, he expressed his regret for his poor choice of words.
“I used words I wish I hadn’t used,” said de Blasio. The Mayor said he would like to apologize for his words, but explained that his reaction was due to “a profound sense of the danger, right before my eyes.”
The Mayor’s tweet called out the “Jewish community” for social distancing violations at the large Williamsburg funeral of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, the Tola’as Yaakov Rebbe.
Deblaio reacted by firing off a sharp tweet to the “Jewish community.”
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” wrote the Mayor. “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
Critics assailed de Blasio for the language in his tweet chiding “the Jewish community” for the actions of members of one sect.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said Wednesday he was recommending that the group formally censure de Blasio.
“I agree with the Mayor that social distancing is vitally important — and last night’s gathering was not appropriate,” Lauder said in a statement. “But to blame the entire Jewish community is the type of stereotyping that is dangerous and unacceptable at any time, and particularly pernicious while the world is gripped in fear and the worst among us are looking for scapegoats.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that generalizing about the whole Jewish population of New York City “is outrageous especially when so many are scapegoating Jews.”
Others noted the crowds that gathered earlier Tuesday to watch a flyover by the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds to honor health-care workers.
“Only bigots have a problem when a few 100 Hasidim do what thousands of people in the same city have done the same day (not social distance).” the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council tweeted.
De Blasio first offered a half apology on Wednesday, saying that he was sorry if his words hurt anyone’s feelings but he didn’t regret calling out what he characterized as a dangerous violation of social distancing rules.
“If you saw anger and frustration, you’re right. I spoke out of real distress,” the mayor said. “It’s not like people gathering in the park. This was thousands of people,” he said. “What I saw, I have not seen anywhere else.”
But it wasn’t until Monday that the Mayor fully apologized for speaking out against the entire Jewish community unjustifiably.