August 17, 2021


Ed Koch called it “a pogrom.” So did Rudy Giuliani. The Reverend Al Sharpton—the chubby, agitating, last-century version—led a march along the streets as rioting young blacks rampaged through the neighborhood looking for Jews and Jewish businesses to attack. Hasidim cowered behind their mezuzah-trimmed doors while the sluggish police ducked rocks and bottles. New York’s first African-American mayor, the courtly David Dinkins, showed up, hoisted a bullhorn, and tried to pacify the mob.

“Will you listen to me for just a minute?” he pleaded.

“No!” they responded, trying to stone him.

“I care about you. I care about you desperately,” he shouted.

“Arrest the Jews!” they demanded.

That was the raw scene 30 years ago, in August 1991, when the worst race rioting in modern New York memory engulfed Crown Heights in Brooklyn. Caribbean immigrants, American blacks, and Hispanics shared the neighborhood with a heavily outnumbered community of Jews, most of them Lubavitcher Hasidim. The convulsive episode drove Dinkins’s handpicked black police commissioner back to Houston and helped doom his mayoralty, but not before that commissioner’s successor, Ray Kelly, began to reenergize the police force. This, in turn, gave momentum to Rudy Guiliani’s more muscular regime once he had defeated Dinkins in the mayoral election two years later.

That’s one way to put your political and media career into overdrive:

‘Happy Anniversary’ Al Sharpton: 25 Years Since He Incited Freddy’s Massacre.

Massacre at Freddy’s In Harlem: Fire Fueled by Anti-Semitism Kills 8.

Al Sharpton: Power Dem.

As Jim Treacher previously asked: What’s Up with All the Anti-Semitism at NBC?

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