The assault of Jewish Insider journalist Jacob Kornbluh in Borough Park, Brooklyn yesterday was an affront not only to the greater Jewish community but to the American ideals of pluralism and freedom of the press. The context of this assault – protests by the Orthodox Jewish community against necessary public health guidelines that keep New Yorkers safe — is harmful both to the Jewish community and to all Americans. Those in the community who don’t support taking protective measures against the Coronavirus put us all in harm’s way.

As American Jews, we have greatly benefitted from the freedoms provided in this wonderful country, ones that include the freedom of the press. For America to remain a democratic society, we must never tolerate violence directed at members of the media, for if we do, we are tacitly accepting targeted violence against any of us.

What makes this event even more disturbing is that when assaulting Mr. Kornbluh, his attackers called him a Nazi. Similar epithets have been hurled at our public leaders, such as Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, for protecting public health like they sought to do in Borough Park. These smears cheapen the memory of the Holocaust and all of those who perished at the merciless hands of the actual Nazis. 

The Holocaust was a singular event in human history and should never be cheapened, especially by members of our own community. 

At the American Jewish Congress, we are grateful for our public leaders’ proactive actions to beat down the Coronavirus pandemic, which has tragically taken the lives of 33,000 fellow New Yorkers. And right now, when Jews are being targeted by white supremacists at an alarmingly increasing rate, we must be clear-headed in separating what real Antisemitism is from what it is not. 

Protecting public health – and reporting on it – is neither Nazism nor Antisemitism.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.