Op-Ed: Hochul Must Appoint A Special Prosecutor Against the Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Committed At Columbia University

Photo: Ted Eytan/Wikimedia

By Gary Tilzer • By dismissing most of the cases against the anti-Israel protesters on the Columbia University campus, Left-wing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is sending a message to the hate protestors and their followers worldwide that creating a hostile environment for Jewish students.

By Gary Tilzer

By dismissing most of the cases against the anti-Israel protesters on the Columbia University campus, Left-wing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is sending a message to the hate protestors and their followers worldwide that creating a hostile environment for Jewish students by threatening them with violence, chaos, destruction of property, and hostage-taking at Hamilton Hall, by failing to stop anti-Semitism hate on the University’s campus, is justified because DA Bragg will not prosecute hate arrests crimes.

To stop the growing anti-Semitic hate crime movement, Jewish leaders must pressure Governor Hochul to appoint a special prosecutor of hate crimes committed by anti-Semitic Columbia University protesters, let go by DA Bragg. Leaders against hate should also be pressuring the US Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the crimes that the lefty Manhattan DA will not.

Bragg, by letting most of the rampaging anti-Semitic mob that attacked Jewish students attending Columbia, only 100 days following the December 7th Hamas murder of Jewish men, women, and children off scott-free, has betrayed every New Yorker and threatened the safety of every Jewish citizen living in the City. We must not forget our students, especially those who live on campus, who feared for their lives, unsure if they or their dorm rooms were targets of protesters wearing Hamas headbands.

Without a doubt, the dropping of charges by Bragg encourages additional anti-Semitic attacks, which already surged 500% this year, according to the ADL. We must not forget the tent encampment on Columbia University’s lawn, which inspired similar anti-Israel protests at universities around the world, making the same demands as the Columbian protesters to divest from companies with links to Israel. Bragg’s refusal to prosecute hate crimes against Jews is giving legal cover to other prosecutors and causing the anti-Semitic protests to multiply because protesters know there are no consequences if they commit additional hate crimes against Jews. Who’s going to stop the protesting mobs demanding to know “Who’s the Jew in a subway car,” the anti-Semitic thugs who attack the home of the Jewish director of the Brooklyn Museum, and the Jewish parents attending their child 5th grade graduation by an Arabic-speaking family — who taunted them with shouts of “Free Palestine!” “Gaza is Ours!” and “Death to Israel!”

All 46 protesters, who were arrested by the NYPD for breaking into Hamilton Hall of Columbia University and barricading themselves inside on the night of April 30, about 20 hours after taking over the academic building, were initially charged with trespass in the third degree–a misdemeanor. After Bragg let go of 30 anti-Israel protesters arrested at Columbia University, the Manhattan District Attorney offered to drop charges against 13 other protesters if they were not arrested again in the next six months. Still, none of them accepted the proposal, setting up a return to court next month.

Bragg is the leader of the progressive DA movement, funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros. After all, Bragg campaigned on a promise of social justice reform, issuing a controversial Day One memo after taking office stating that he would only seek prison time in the most severe cases. Bragg’s prosecutors have routinely released career criminals, drug dealers, and the mentally ill who commit crimes, all without charges, creating a revolving door in the criminal court of criminals who return to the streets and subways, making additional New Yorkers into crime victims, get rearrested and return to Criminal Court where another judge lets them out to repeat the process.

Last February, it was revealed that in the last year, Bragg downgraded a staggering 60 percent of felony cases to lesser charges. In 2023, the DA reduced 938 of the most serious charges, 834 of which were brought down to misdemeanors. Bragg’s soft-on-crime policies along with many of the City’s other District Attorneys, is the cause of the violent crime wave rocking NYC, and the business exodus destroying the City’s economy.

It is clear, according to crime data, that Bragg is not using the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for which he was elected to do–prosecute criminals. Bragg sees himself as a social justice crusader who has politicized the DA’s office. Legal scholars widely criticized Bragg’s patched-together prosecution of Trump, for relying on a novel legal theory, to bypass the statute of limitations with a federal law that he had no right to prosecute, to raise Trump’s personal business records charges to felonies.

Bragg does not represent a majority of Manhattan voters and there is no mandate on his policies as he claims. Bragg received 34% of the vote in the 2021 Democratic Primary. In one-party NYC, the Democratic Primary is the only election that matters. The DA and other elected officials who win the primary easily win the November General Election because of NYC’s lopsided democratic voter party enrollment. Bragg’s top opponent for DA–Tali Farhadian Weinstein–received 30.7%, only 3.1% less. A voting analysis shows Bragg received just 10.9% of the registered Democratic voters in Manhattan and 7.7% of all Manhattan registered voters.

NY needs to end its winner-take-all partisan elections for District Attorney, to make sure DAs represent the will of the majority of the voters. The top two finishers in a nonpartisan election to replace the Democratic Primary should face off in the General Election in November to make sure one of the candidates receives over 50%, ensuring the new DA represents the will of the residents of the borough, not just a small group whose left-wing values differ from a majority of the borough voters.

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Republished with permission from Gary Tilzer. Originally printed in The Jewish Voice

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1 Comment

  • Mr. 07/07/2024 | א' תמוז התשפ"ד

    I agree!

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