On Tuesday evening, the mayor of the city that is home to the largest Jewish population in the world called upon law enforcement officials to round up the Jews.
Bill de Blasio, the self-hating leftist whose birth name of Warren Wilhelm Jr. long ago posed an obstacle to expiating his "white guilt," displayed his malice and hostility for all to see. In response to a crowded Brooklyn funeral for a prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbi, hizzoner decided the best recourse to this flouting of social distancing was to target and besmirch all New York's Jews. He tweeted, in relevant part: "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 despicable animus. To single out all the Jews for collectively spreading a disease is to hearken back centuries to the revolting medieval pogrom incitements that blamed Jews for metastasizing the Black Death. That de Blasio's obtuse rhetoric comes directly on the heels of his shirking of any culpability for the Big Apple's recent years-long rise in anti-Semitic violence only exacerbates the disgrace. I am proud that the religious liberty law firm where I am of counsel, First Liberty Institute, quickly blasted de Blasio's tweet as "outrageous, vile, and dangerous" before offering to represent for free any NYPD officer who is punished for refusing to do the mayor's bidding and round up the Juden.
But the problem for de Blasio cuts far deeper. In late March, nearer the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the mayor inadvertently exposed his comprehensive anti-religious bigotry. In explaining how the city would react to obstinate houses of worship resisting hizzoner's social distancing guidelines, de Blasio warned that law enforcement would "take additional action up to the point of fines, and potentially closing the building permanently." To speak of "permanent" closure of religious institutions, in this manner, is to let the cat out of the bag. Such an admonition is not merely reckless in its unconstitutionality; it is stupefying in its immorality.
Yet, for all his myriad flaws, Wilhelm, er, de Blasio, is but a symptom of a broader debilitating disease. Progressivism, which long ago supplanted Lockean liberalism as the dominant left-of-center political counterweight to traditional conservatism, has always had a tense relationship with religion -- and with the Judeo-Christian moral and religious tradition, more generally.
Every high school civics student learns how Karl Marx, reasonably viewed as the intellectual progenitor of contemporary leftism, infamously referred to religion as the "opium of the people." Leftists invariably view the Judeo-Christian moral tradition as imposing destructive and anachronistic shackles upon personal autonomy-maximizing liberationism. Leftism exists not in harmony with Christianity and Judaism; it seeks to replace it wholesale. Ask not how many dead bodies are left in its wake.
But for the anti-religion zealot -- especially those, like Marx, who grew up deep in the geographic heart of Christendom -- there is often a belief that Judaism is actually the most foundational root of civilizational evil. The logic is just as simple as it is inescapable: If Christianity is to blame for backward-looking traditions, chauvinism and imperialism, then Judaism is ultimately to blame for being the religious antecedent of Christianity in the first instance. It should thus be no surprise that Marx, himself the grandson of a Dutch rabbi, was appallingly anti-Semitic in his writings and rhetoric.
Today, we see this play out repeatedly on the world stage. Far too often, left-leaning newspapers deploy photos of Orthodox Jews while caviling about ecumenical social trends, such as gentrification or intra-city strife. Leftist politicians who despise the greatness of Western civilization routinely single out the tiny Jewish state of Israel as a uniquely pernicious wellspring of the alleged Western wickedness. None of this is happenstance. It is the direct result of the far left's innate Jewish problem.
Alas, if nothing else, we should all be grateful for one thing about the sad saga of Bill de Blasio: There has not been a clearer example, in recent memory, of the dangers posed by leftist Democratic Party governance to the Jews.