Following are comments by New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger on the Council floor Wednesday:
I appreciate the thousands of New Yorkers and those who came from elsewhere to stand tall this Sunday against anti-Semitism. I also think how we got to here should be discussed.
For far too long, too many who hold public office, and those who portend themselves to be members of the media, have tinkered at the fringes of anti-Semitism. You market an “us vs. them” message against Orthodox Jews. You did this.
When you deliberately paint a portrait of Orthodox Jews as backwards members of society, who don’t vote how you like, don’t do what you want, don’t educate our children how you wish, you did this.
Those who took the time over Chanukah to show up near a menorah, but play divide-and-conquer politics with the lives of Orthodox Jews, you did this.
When an unprecedented verbal pogrom was unleashed in this chamber earlier this year for no purpose other than dividing New Yorkers and checking a box for your anti-Semitic friends, you did this.
Those who spent Sunday posing for pictures with Jews, but spend the other 364 days of the year festering hate against my community, you did this.
When you hold signs that claim you stand with Chassidic Jews, but then you go stand with anti-Semites, you did this.
I won’t be silent about who’s responsible.
The notion that a “lack of tolerance” is at issue, as if Orthodox Jews are so heinous that our presence in society is something to be tolerated, is grotesque.
We have the right to live in our city like anyone else. We have the right to go about our day without being assaulted. We’re not doing this to anyone. You’re doing this to us.
You attack our yeshivas regularly, repeatedly, with hatred. But when ever has anyone seen a group of yeshiva students run down a street and smack someone in the head? Why is that never discussed – how we raise our children to be honorable, intellectual, decent members of society, how we are kind to one another?
You paint us all with a scarlet letter of derision. You did this to us.
Those of you who did this know who you are, and you’ve done this, and it’s you’re responsibility to stop it. And I’m asking you all not just to show up one day a year and take a couple of pictures. But do this for the other 364 days that you stand up and you hurt our community with your words, with your acts, with divide-and-conquer politics, with the things that are not necessary in this city, just because you don’t like how we think, or you don’t like how we dress, or you don’t like how educate our children. Leave us alone and let us be part of this city, without you festering hate on us.
Thank you very much.