Senator Jack Martins (Photo from the office of Senator Jack Martins)

Op-ed: New Yorkers Deserve Better

By Senator Jack Martins 

There’s plenty of hateful ignorance in the world and it certainly feels like we’ve been treated to a boatload of it the last few months. Although it will ruffle some feathers, we shouldn’t be afraid to call it out. How else will reasonable people – on any side of an issue – recognize each other and agree on what’s unacceptable? Drawing attention to a problem is always the first step in correcting it. 

That’s why this column is dedicated to New York City’s District Attorney, Alvin Bragg. If ever there was an ideological demagogue shilling a political agenda, he’d be the poster child. This week Mr. Bragg shocked New York and good people everywhere when he dropped all the charges against protesters that had been arrested in April for taking over Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall. 

You recall that mess. For weeks, protesters openly chanted pro-terrorist, anti-Jewish and anti-American hatred for the world to hear. They disrupted the education of thousands of students who were minding their business and simply going to class. And in the end, Columbia was even forced to cancel their graduation commencement ceremony.  So much for keeping your head down and working hard.

More disturbing still, these same protesters freely menaced and terrorized Jewish students for weeks without consequence. They seized a historic building, held it for days, and caused untold property damage that others will most surely now pay for. The NYPD and their SWAT teams were called in to retake the building and restore order, putting themselves at risk. But despite being told to disburse and cease their attack, protesters dug in and were subsequently arrested.  

Then we discovered that nearly half of those arrested were not even students but professional agitators, there to make a bad situation worse.  Others included foreign nationals on student visas, who would normally be deported for having been arrested and violating the terms of their visas.  

And when all this dust settled, do you know what the consequences were for the multitude of crimes, hatred, and chaos? There were none. The District Attorney now claims there’s not enough evidence. 

So, everything you and I saw for days on end with our own eyes – everything that millions of people saw – somehow was all a mistake. It’s a breathtaking insult to our intelligence, and guess what? DA Bragg doesn’t care. 

He’s been doing it since he got into office, selectively applying the law to advance what he considers a “progressive” agenda. He routinely releases violent, repeat offenders who go right back out onto our streets. He has single-handedly undone the work of thousands of hardworking police officers, breaking their morale and the city’s spirit.   

But to my mind, what’s happening now is much worse.  By this single, willfully ignorant act, District Attorney Bragg has essentially declared it OK to harass and assault Jews in New York.  

I can assure you that stifling the law and its consequences only delivers negative outcomes and ignoring crime encourages more of the same. So, we can most certainly expect an uptick in antisemitic hate crimes. And that number has already surged in New York City by more than 45% this year alone!

We’re crossing a point of no return and it worries me. Good people cannot remain silent while any of our neighbors are singled out and harassed.  We saw this before and we know how it turns out. 

Justice belongs to everyone.  By his actions, the District Attorney is sending the message that Jews are somehow not entitled to that justice. He is clearly beholden to a political ideology and placed that ideology ahead of his oath to protect New Yorkers and prosecute crimes.  He has forgotten what it means to be a New Yorker.  

I hope you join me in calling for Mr. Bragg’s removal from office.  His job is to enforce the law with an even hand, not advance his own political ideology. New Yorkers deserve better.  And all New Yorkers should call him out. 


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