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Op-Ed: A Frightening Portent for New York City

by John Podhoretz - Commentary Magazine

One interesting aspect of Bill de Blasio’s landslide victory in the New York mayoral race last month is that it leaves the city with very little electoral life outside the Left.

The City Council speaker will almost certainly be someone as left-wing as the mayor; the new public advocate hails from the same left-wing political machine (the Working Families Party) as de Blasio; and most of the newly elected members of the City Council are doctrinaire as well. So the question immediately arises: Who will stand against Leftist infamies when they occur? We will find out in the next day or so, because the first major one has just happened.

There is a new City Council member from the neighborhood in Brooklyn called Crown Heights, which is ethnically the city’s most interesting—a mix of blacks mostly of Caribbean origin and ultra-Orthodox Jews mostly from the Lubavitch Hasidic sect. Her name is Laurie Cumbo, and this week she decided to take to Facebook to express some thoughts about the recent spate of violent “knockout game” attacks in which passers-by find themselves being struck hard in the face by someone’s fist for no reason. She reports that at a community meeting called to discuss the violence, she said this.

“Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes. I relayed these sentiments at the forum not as an insult to the Jewish community, but rather to offer possible insight as to how young African American/Caribbean teens could conceivably commit a “hate crime” against a community that they know very little about.”

Her insight into why a thug would punch a 19 year-old Hasidic kid in the face in the middle of her district while his friends watched, in other words, boils down to Jewish money. Cumbo knows she is treading on delicate ground here, so she attempts to mitigate the damage: “I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains.” And then she went all in: “While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.”

Cumbo hastens to make clear she is against such crime–against it! “If one person attacks another, regardless of the motivation, there is no justification for such an action. We should never blame a victim, or try to explain away any wrongdoing. The issue of race or religion is but a red-herring one when it comes to crime.”

Cumbo just can’t leave it there, because she feels the “system” is rigged and so she is being compelled to argue for something that makes her unhappy: “I feel torn because I feel apart of [sic] the very system that has caused the destructive path that so many young people have decided to take while I am simultaneously demanding that they be arrested by that same system.”

So here we have it. Jews are crowding out black people in Crown Heights, they are stoking resentment because of their financial success, and while there can be no justification for acts of violence, it’s a terrible pain for someone like Cumbo to say those perpetrating the violence should be arrested because they are victims too. Such textbook apologetics and excuses for crime hearken back to a different and far worse time for New York City, as does the nauseating stench of Cumbo’s classic anti-Semitic stew.

It was in the very neighborhood Cumbo now represents that the worst anti-Jewish event in modern American history took place: A three-day riot in 1991 following the accidental killing of an African-American child by a limousine driven by a Hasidic man. Two men were killed, stores were looted, and homes were targeted by Molotov-cocktail throwers through spotting the mezuzot on the doorfames. It was a shattering event for the city, not least because the mayor at the time, David Dinkins, seemed to feel as though he was powerless to act as the riot spread. His conduct during Crown Heights was so shameful it came to be one of the key reasons Rudy Giuliani ousted Dinkins from City Hall—even though the election took place two years later.

One thing New Yorkers knew in the wake of the Giuliani election was this: Acts of violence were going to be addressed, not excused; and anti-Semitic conduct would be greeted with roars of protest and outrage from City Hall. Eight years of Giuliani stilled and calmed the city; 9/11 created a new era of good common feeling; the perpetuation of Giuliani policies under Michael Bloomberg helped keep the urban peace. Now, only a month before the inauguration of DeBlasio, something ugly and evil is rearing its head. Who is there to speak out against Cumbo’s words?

De Blasio?


  • 1. declasse intellectual' wrote:

    This can be traced to the White House and both Obama and Holder after the martin verdict. Has anything came out of their offices to condemn this and urge that the perps be punished with the full authority of the law???It was from the time of the verdict that these have starged and have increased.

  • 2. National attention wrote:

    She must have sung the right song to our pack, who in their blissful ignorance, endorsed her.

  • 3. Dovid wrote:

    Let’s stop beating her up!

    Read the original article. She said it as it is. Whether we like it or not, some (not all) African Americans in the community resent us.

    She said it as it is. These are the issues. Now let’s find common ground.

    She could have skirted the issue and pretended everything is rosy (as politicians usually like to do).

    Instead she writes what she sees.

    Would you prefer someone who isn’t honest?

    • 4. CHLEAKS.COM wrote:

      Although what she said regarding the resentment etc…is true, it was her that made it or connected it to the ‘knock out’.

      She made this connection and used it as a justification because she resonates with these antisemitic ideas.

      I would ask her this:
      When her people were sprouting this hate, how did she respond (to them)?

      Bottom line: Mr. Dovid, you are justifying and excusing a person who justify and excuses.

      This tells me that you are either one of her people (politically) or your part of the corrupt CHJCC cabal who hopes to get a fat check as a result of you “good relationship” with these dirty corrupt, antisemitic politicians.

    • 5. Kiva wrote:

      How do you propose solving her issues? What kind of “common ground” could be found over these “issues”?

      Ban Jews for buying houses or from having children so as not to offend blacks? Stop Jews from earning money and being successful?

      The fact is that there are not “issues” here. Jews have as much right to live in Crown Heights as blacks do. Blacks don’t own these streets.

  • 8. its time wrote:

    its time for the entire frum community to vote as one in the next elections and show these people the door
    in 20 years there will be no blacks left in nyc

  • 9. Yisroel wrote:

    Just how many of those punched in the face were Jewish landlords or Jewish house buyers? I believe that the perpertrators of these criminal acts are guilty of racism and anti-semitism. Ms. Cumbo seems to be very confused, to put it mildly.

  • 11. Yossel wrote:

    Much has been written by our community on the Cumbo issue. It boils down to a few principles:

    1. The black community has failed to imbue its young people with a desire and need for success. The “jealousy” that Cumbo refers to in her posting has no place in America, where everyone has the right and freedom to TRY to succeed. To blame the Jewish community for pursuing the “American dream” smacks of Nazi ideology where Jews were portrayed as rich money-hungry destroyers of secular society.

    2. Jews who go around trying to buy Black-owned homes for cash are only adding fuel to the fire. In many cases, the Jews buying these homes are “flipping” them for the purpose of making big bucks. We are always judged to an infinitely higher standard than non-Jews. We must be ever-careful to conduct ourselves as befits our spiritual state. That means NOT grubbing after every dollar we can grab! Everyone is aware that there is limited housing in this neighborhood. Of course we want more homes for own, but not at the expense of trying to grab houses from Black families who aren’t really interested in selling.

    It is interesting that back in the late 1960s the Rebbe BEGGED Jews to buy homes. In those days no one wanted them, and they were cheap as dirt. The community bungled the effort and between our own incompetence and lack of ethical business practices (translate: scamming, stealing, lying, etc. etc.) we were unable to buy the homes the Rebbe so desperately wanted to remain Jewish. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

    The new administration will certainly not be supportive of our community as Giuliani was. Whether we will experience more pogroms, chas v’sholom, remains to be seen. But we need to do whatever is in our power as a UNIFIED community to fight the evils being perpretrated on us here. And that includes fighting back, protesting en masse to the police, whatever it takes. This new administration will be happy to look the other way as we are being persecuted (chas v’sholom) if we choose to sit back and do nothing about it.

  • 13. facebook wrote:

    someone please post this to her facebook page. I dont know how to do it. this should be published. we must stop this anti semite in her tracks.

  • 14. stereotyping is wrong wrote:

    The black community this. This Jewish community that.. stop with stereotypes. it is wrong!

  • 15. Yossi A wrote:

    Where is Ele Slavin Chanina Sperlin and the other big shots who kiss up to the anti,semites and tell us FOR THE GOOD OF THE SHECHUNA vote for her……

    • 16. Voting power wrote:

      Why would you follow someone else’s directives on who to vote for. Read up on the candidate’s positions and make an informed decision – based on your brain power. Slavin and Sperlin are not the brightest bulbs in the pack and are out to serve one person…themselves!

  • 17. GEt her the hek out!! wrote:

    She should be removed immediately! JUSTIFYING “Knockout” for jews having money? You &*#$*$ serious lady?!!!!!!

  • 18. CR wrote:

    Okay, Laurie, let’s try this on for size;

    “I also recognize that for others, the anti-social ignorance, sloth and criminality in the Black community triggers feelings of contempt, and a sense that Black failure is a cancer, threatening other communities.”

    Is that too direct? Blunt? Would you view this as a legitimate viewpoint? Blaming the victim? Evidence of racism?

  • 19. Things may not remain as usual wrote:

    A demonstration should/must be held outside her office, demanding her resign.

    If we just let it pass then next time things it’ll be worse g-d forbid.

    Lets unite.

    Btw: we nee to know which bozo in our leadership makes such endorsements.

  • 20. Victimize The Victim Says wrote:

    Who lived in Crown Heights before the blacks? The blacks reduced the Jewish population in many neighborhoods by perpetrating violent crimes. Maybe all people being chased from their neighborhoods should vent their frustration and randomly attack all blacks? She should address the lack of family structure and being led by self serving leaders as herself as to what is causing the issues in the black community. How would she explain black on black crime? Let the blacks start taking responsibility for their actions without looking for excuses. Whoa to Crown Heights for having such “concerned, caring, and friendly” politicians representing all members of their community!

  • 21. I don't blame HER wrote:

    She’s a Black racist That’s who she is. Rather, I blame the likes of Sperlin, Behrman, Hecht & all the other wannabees who think that pushing us to vote this racist in will make her like us.

    And of course…I blame YOU, the uninformed, knee-jerk voters who voted for her. You see, I didn’t. I read interviews with her & I knew exactly what kind of creature she is. Well, you made your bed, you will collectively lie in it. Not I, I am planning on moving out of state. Good luck!

  • 22. Kiva wrote:

    Crown Heights doesn’t belong to blacks. Jews have as much right to live there as blacks do.

    Imagine if a Jewish politician complained that there were too many blacks in a Jewish neighborhood.

    Let’s vote this Antisemite out of office as soon as possible.

  • 23. Moishe wrote:

    I wander why we do not hear about this knockout attacks happening in States like Florida or Texas. Could it be something to do with concealed cray permits? May be no one wants to be next ” Trayvon Martin” down there?

  • 24. TO DOVID wrote:

    All you are saying is the age old story, the goy doesn’t like the yid. THAT doesn’t mean we have to allow it to grow and fester in our community. If anything we certainly have a much greater legitimate claim to dislike blacks in our neighborhood seeing that we are constantly and consistently robbed, attacked and our cars broken into and/or stolen by none other than blacks! Yet, we DON’T go around attacking them in any shape or form. Yes, it’s much easier to look for excuses for your own lazy failure than to be proactive and get up and make something of yourself. I can tell you for a fact of people I personally know in Crown Heights who are totally poverty stricken and live with empty fridges in their homes, but not one of these people EVER EVER even entertained the thought of robbing someone or shop lifting or beating up someone who had more than them. All these excuses are nothing more than just that; a way to excuse and condone violence. MADAM CUMBO MUST BE REMOVED before she even gets in. We THE PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE A STAND AND MAKE SURE THAT HAPPENS!!!! we can not sit around and wait for the slavin ___ and company to finish scratching their noses.

  • 25. has anyone heard from.... wrote:

    Eric Adams
    Dov Hikind
    David Greenfeld
    Simcha Felder
    Marty Markowitz
    Letitia James
    Christine Quinn
    Ken Thompson

    or any of the former candidates who were on us like white on rice BEFORE the election?? Why aren’t they speaking out? Could it be they are all Democrats & some are – gasp! BLACK???

  • 26. white boy wrote:

    cannina -slavin eli cohen will still take pics with her, even after she spit in our faces .
    she is a open raciest . jew hater .
    you got to give her credit she does not hide it

  • 27. HOW APROPRIATE wrote:

    How so very appropriate to put an ad for flights from New york right after these comments. with someone like this Cumbo dumbo anyone in their right mind would want to get out of her way.


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