Memo: Attn. Messrs. Cuomo and De Blasio, honorable governor and mayor of the formerly great State and City of New York, respectively.
Gentlemen: First off, we’d like to congratulate the two of you on your uncanny adherence to a script that you [most likely] are entirely unaware of. We know our own history well, and we have watched this particular story play out many times since that day long ago when your grandfathers dragged ours in chains from our ancestral homeland to yours.
In 1096, for example, Pope Urban II, faced with political upheaval and domestic unrest throughout Europe, came up with a convenient solution: he called upon the rabble to march up the Rhine River (ostensibly on the way to Jerusalem – what’s north instead of east amongst friends?) and vent their destructive energies on the ancient Jewish communities of Worms, Mainz, Speyer and Cologne.
Or there was that time in 1648 where the Ukrainian chieftain Bogdon Chmeilniki, domineered and humiliated by Polish overlords, maintained his own popularity the old fashioned way – by channeling his peoples’ frustration toward the most readily available target the Jews. The widespread Cossack pogroms of that year forever altered the trajectory of Jewish history.
In our own day, generations of corrupt Palestinian leaders distract their citizenry from the dysfunction and poverty by nurturing a blind anger and hatred toward the Jew, even while they line their own pockets with the money meant to alleviate the suffering of their people.
And on and on, from Czars to Lithuanian pig farming magistrates, Holy Roman Emperors to Soviet Communists, failed administrators throughout history have distracted their citizens from their own ineptitude by carefully steering the public attention toward any real or perceived faults they could find in that ever convenient punching bag… those well poisoning, disease bearing, conniving, world dominant, Elders of Zion.
We are used to it by now.
And so the recent turn of events has come as no surprise. Others, raised on traditional American sensibilities, were no doubt shocked to see the Governor of a major state go on national shows and repeatedly deflect questions about his epic failures in crisis management by bringing up the Jews. But we get it.
After all, it must be tough to be in your shoes. After seven months of wielding authoritarian power, your subjects are finally beginning to question how it has benefited them. Despite your petty infighting, the two of you have coordinated admirably to bankrupt one of the most economically blessed areas on planet Earth, with absolutely nothing to show for it. As you destroyed New York in the name of battling
a virus, in the final analysis few places on earth and virtually nowhere in the country lost the battle more spectacularly than you did.
Perhaps it wasn’t entirely your fault. In the panic of the moment decisions had to made under unclear circumstances and incomplete information; inevitably tragic mistakes happen. But you’ll forgive the populace for wondering why we continue to consolidate unchecked unilateral power into the hands of he whose mandates are responsible for more deaths than possibly any other man made decision worldwide since the beginning of this saga. Thousands perished in nursing homes as you ignored their frantic pleas and forced them to place corona patients amidst the most vulnerable; thousands more from neglect and hopelessness – alone and without assistance by executive fiat – in malfunctioning hospitals.
And so as what was yesterday one of the greatest cities in the world descends into anarchy and dysfunction, with skyrocketing crime and unchecked riots, with shuttered businesses and tens of thousands of formerly self sufficient adults waiting on bread lines, the press conferences are not as much fun as they used to be. You long for those days last spring when a frightened populace starved for leadership and hope hung onto your every word as you rambled on about your grandmother s pasta sauce. Alas, it was all sauce and no pasta, as spring turned to summer it became depressingly clear that your policies were doing nothing to kill the virus and everything to kill the city.
Two hundred and seventeen days into 15 days to slow the spread , the jig is up: there is no plan, there never was a plan. Your response to a natural disaster was to outdo it with an unnatural one: hundreds of thousands of parents watch helplessly as their children spend a year and a half being turned into street urchins or stupefied tech-addicts, tens of thousands of entrepreneurs sacrifice the businesses they built with their blood sweat and toil, millions forfeit their paycheck. Sure, we got out of this virus was a five times higher death rate than, say, Texas – but look at the leadership.
The problem is, nobody s buying it. Ever fawning coverage by a sycophantic media was getting cliche; your frantic insistence that without me it would have been even worse was ringing hollow. And so through the long summer you waited and hoped, watching the numbers and cheering every death in Georgia and Florida, praying that somehow they ll catch up. But t was not be. When the dust settled and it became clear that virtually everyone else had managed to keep their citizens alive far better than you, while destroying those lives far less than you, you needed a new angle. Gosh, even a self-written congratulatory book about your own leadership skills wasn’t moving the needle.
Enter the Jews. “They never closed the Yeshivas They didn’t shut down seven months ago, that s why we re where we are today ” Let alone that the statement is an out and out slander (every Yeshiva in the city did indeed shut down as the pandemic raged last spring), scientifically it s a ludicrous theory. The virus was gone from the area for three months – it s resurgence now has no relationship whatsoever with anything any yeshiva did or didn’t do in May.
But it’s convenient. It s convenient to draw red lines around neighborhoods and then publicly apologize to other ethnic groups saying “it s not your fault; you just happen to live amongst Orthodox Jews”. Who’ll focus on your failures when every concern can be channeled into old fashioned fear of the other?
Never mind that in reality the spikes have little to do with Jews and everything to do with neighborhoods that are simply not built to have people sitting at home for eight months straight, with no end in sight. Never mind that every such crowded ethnic area experienced devastation and resurgence – the hardest hit are places where few Jews ever tread (eerily enough, the neighborhoods of Corona and Gravesend). In other words, your quixotic scheme to conquer the forces of nature may have made sense for some theoretical area of your imagination, but for the city you actually govern it was kinda stupid, really.
Ah, but you re the guys in charge around here. You lead. You take the initiative and do stuff, darnit. So you shut down specific “zones” with high rates of infection. True, that s the most surefire way to actively spread disease – with their own neighborhoods shut down, people go shopping and bring their structureless kids into other neighborhoods But what s the alternative to do nothing? What kind of leadership is that?
I highly doubt that either of you are anti-Semitic; yours is incitement of expediency rather than ideology. But incitement it remains nonetheless, and effective it is. The world now associates New York corona virus second wave with the Jews, anything that happens from hereon in can safely be attributed to those parasites amongst us. After all, even the Guv and the Mayor said so.
And so we’re afraid. Because we’ve seen this story before and we know how it ends But we re not afraid of you, gentlemen. Our fear and our hopes are directed at the puppeteer Who is pulling your strings.
Ultimately fellows, we owe you a thank you. We were feeling mighty comfortable in your land, before you acted as agents to remind us that we are not one of you, and we never will be. This too is a rerun: The Shabbos before you issued your decree, we read the poem meant to guide us from one end of history through to the other. VaYishman Yeshurun vayivat is followed by Vayomer astira panai meihem. Then characters like you appear but we re not going to fall into the trap of thinking you are the cause of it v’lo Hashem poal kol zos. (I apologize for the Hebrew, Your Excellencies If you’d like a translation just ask your closest friends; no doubt many of them are Jews.)
Lev melachim v’sarim b’yad Hashem. Thanks for passing on the message, we will return the call direct.