By Alex Lloyd Gross
There have been a rise in Anti Semitic behavior and rhetoric . “More so now than at any time since World War 2”, said State Senator Art Haywood a Democrat State Senator from Philadelphia and Montgomery County. To bring attention to this, he held a short press conference at the chapel at Kenneseth Israel which is in Elkins Park. The talk about hate speech lasted about one hour. Haywood was not the only person in attendance.
Also speaking was Col. Robert Evanchick of the Pennsylvania State Police. “We have an App for you to use, to report things we take hate crimes very seriously<” He said. After the event, Evanchick agreed that even making jokes is offensive. “It starts there,”he said. Certainly a joke is not going to cause physical injury to someone but it is like opening the door a crack, if you are making jokes, especially in public, it could encourage people to go farther.
It was not just democrats in attendance. Matt Weintraub, the Republican District Attorney from Bucks County was there as well. He echoed the sentiments of everyone there, that hate is wrong. Many people commit crimes, not just hate crimes but any crimes because they feel emboldened., When the local district attorney does not prosecute for certain crimes, or cuts an offender a break because the criminal was “upset”, or perhaps they are sorry now that they are caught. People read the news and know know if they commit a crime they will be given a break. It is one thing to talk tough in front of the cameras. Then when a crime victim needs you in their corner, you push them away and give the criminal a slap on the wrist.
That kind of culture is evident everywhere, not just this region. Look at New York, where officers did nothing when they were assaulted with buckets of water. When people feel that the DA is not in the corner of other victims, they are too scared to come forward themselves. That leads to more victimization and attacks get even more brazen and violent.”. Senator Haywood said that “District Attorneys are ready to prosecute for hate crimes and will do so.”
It is not just people of the Jewish faith that have come under attack, it is Muslims and people of color. Just today Israel barred two congress women Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country for saying offensive and hateful remarks about the Jewish faith . This week a correctional officer at a Rhode Island Detention Center is accused of driving a pick up truck directly at a group of Jewish protesters at the site. The protesters were peaceful and were given no orders to disperse, when the male, identified as Captain Thomas Woodworth drove at them, injuring several. He then took off from the scene. He has been suspended pending an investigation. There is a good possibility he will not only be fired but arrested as well for his actions. We will see if Senator Haywood’s remarks about district attorney’s charging people correctly will reach Rhode Island.