Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Anti-Semitism


What’s behind the wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?  The neighborhood is home to Orthodox, Hassidic and Satmar Jewish communities, and recently there has been a spate of violent attacks as well as arson against Jews.  Though Donald Trump has certainly aggravated social tensions by pursuing ties to right-wing nationalists and condoning neo-Nazi violence, anti-Semitism in Brooklyn has its own unique characteristics.  Indeed, at least some of the attackers have been minorities, and it is possible that that anti-Semitism has also been aggravated by a measles outbreak within the Jewish community.  Some of the violent attacks have occurred on or around Rodney Street, an otherwise quiet tree-lined thoroughfare.

Rodney Street

Orthodox congregation of Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom, on Rodney Street

Satmar store

Jewish commercial businesses

Jewish business

Could gentrification and social discontent be fueling anti-Semitism?  During cyclical anti-Semitic waves, Jews are often blamed for being greedy capitalists, but in Williamsburg many Jews live quite modestly and stand to be equally affected by property development.

Along Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, gentrification has now given rise to fancy real estate development which has in turn erased some of the previous hipster mystique.


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