Issues

NY Times Reporter Blames White Nationalism for Anti-Semitic Attacks in New York

NPR host compelled to point out attacks were not perpetrated by white nationalists

New York Times political reporter Astead Herndon blamed white nationalism for the spate of anti-Semitic attacks that have broken out across New York City.

In an interview on NPR’s 1A, host Todd Zwillich asked Herndon how New Yorkers were reacting to these incidents and the "growing national trend" of anti-Semitic violence.

Herndon said that what’s important is "naming [anti-Semitism] for what it is," which is why we are now seeing policies that "target white nationalism and to really root it out at its core, and that’s going to continue because we have seen this spike in hate crimes, particularly against the Jewish community."

The apparently confused host responded that the attackers in these incidents were not white supremacists, as in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, but African Americans "maybe with a different world view."

In December, an attack on a kosher grocery in Jersey City left six dead, including the two African-American gunmen who instigated the attack. The attackers were affiliated with an extremist anti-Semitic group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Last week, an African-American man burst into a Hanukkah party at the home of a rabbi in the New York City suburb of Monsey, stabbing five Jews, one of whom remains in critical condition at an area hospital. And in the intervening weeks, there have been numerous reports of African-American violence against Jewish people in the city of New York, leading Mayor Bill de Blasio to deploy additional police to Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and elsewhere.

Acknowledging that the recent anti-Semitic attacks were committed by African Americans, Herndon argued that "these ideologies have roots in all communities" and are not limited to white nationalists.

"Anti-Semitism is something that is pervasive across communities and can in fact include black ones, just the way that things like sexism, racism, and other forms of hatred can affect communities outside of maybe specifically just the ones we typically associate them with," he said. "That is just another reason for folks to be able to call this out and to be able to make this clear that the issue of anti-Semitism is one that is larger than just white nationalists, or one that is larger than just an individual political actor, but one that has a global ideology of hatred."