Anti-Semitism: Not What It Once Was

On Thursday evening, a comedian named Ilana Glazer was scheduled to perform at a synagogue in Brooklyn as a get-out-the-vote event. The performance was canceled when anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled throughout the synagogue. The New York Times reported on the story. The Times article looks to me as though it was initially written from a typically liberal point of view, and then, when the perpetrator was identified and caught, that information was inserted into the story after the fact. The two portions of the article are oddly assorted:

A get-out-the-vote event at a Brooklyn synagogue featuring the comedian Ilana Glazer was canceled on Thursday night after anti-Semitic graffiti, including the words “Die Jew Rats,” was discovered scrawled on the temple’s walls, the police and officials at the synagogue said.

The vandalism, which is being investigated as a hate crime by the Police Department, jarred residents in a deeply progressive area of Brooklyn. It occurred on the heels of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last week and a recent spate of similar graffiti incidents in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident, the police said. Other words written on the walls inside the synagogue included: “We are here,” “Hitler,” “Jew Better Be Ready” and “End it now,” the police said.

The Times story includes quotes from New York’s Mayor:

Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the vandalism on Friday morning on Twitter. “This is the vilest kind of hate,” Mr. de Blasio wrote, adding: “We will fight anti-Semitism with every fiber of our being. The N.Y.P.D. will find the perpetrators of this hate crime and hold them accountable.”

And Governor:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was asking the state’s Hate Crimes Task Force, which includes the State Police and the State Division of Human Rights, to investigate the incident. “The disgusting rhetoric and heinous violence in this nation has reached a fever pitch and is ripping at the fabric of America, and it must stop,” the governor said.

The Times story also includes a Facebook post by a woman who was invited to the comedian’s performance. She, too, drew a political moral from the graffiti:

But the story soon took a turn. Images of the perpetrator captured by the synagogue’s security camera were released:

The perpetrator was quickly identified, and the Times account was updated (I think) with information about him:

The police announced Friday night that they had arrested a 26-year-old man, James Polite, on charges that he wrote the anti-Semitic graffiti. He faces charges of criminal mischief, which the police classified as a hate crime, and making graffiti.

Here, the Times is being reticent. The paper refrains from noting that it has featured Mr. Polite before, in a more favorable, but also political, context. Steve Sailer has the story. In December of last year, the Times explained how Mr. Polite became a fixture around New York’s City Council:

James Polite spent much of his childhood in foster care.

In high school alone, Mr. Polite estimates, he was placed in 10 different homes. And he received little encouragement from social workers to go to college.

But Mr. Polite, now 25, still believed that college was the best next step. He found encouragement as a volunteer in his teens, registering voters and canvassing neighborhoods in New York City during Barack Obama’s first presidential bid. Mentors on the campaign trail urged him to pursue higher education.

In 2008, at a gay pride rally for Mr. Obama, Mr. Polite met Christine C. Quinn, then the City Council speaker.

Ms. Quinn still remembers their introduction on the steps of City Hall. “James was telling me his story,” she recalled recently in an interview. “And I said, ‘Do you have an internship?’ And he said ‘No.’ And I said, ‘Well, you do now.’”

He interned with Ms. Quinn, a Manhattan Democrat, for several years, working on initiatives to combat hate crime, sexual assault and domestic violence. He also took part in her re-election campaign in 2009 and returned to help with her unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2013.

“James was the adopted child of the Quinn administration,” she said. “And it wasn’t just me. It was the entire City Council staff.”

Mr. Polite attended Brandeis:

Ms. Quinn wrote Mr. Polite a letter of recommendation to Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and followed up with a call to its president. Council staff members even drove him there on move-in day.

… But as he got older, Mr. Polite, who says he identifies as queer and does not base attraction on gender, said he felt misunderstood at home. …

After graduating from high school, Mr. Polite enrolled in a preparatory year at Brandeis. … Months before that birthday, a Brooklyn couple learned about the possibility of fostering him. The couple, Josh Waletzky and Jenny Levison, said they had wanted to foster an “L.G.B.T.Q. youth” on the brink of aging out of the system.

There is much more, but you get the drift. Sailer sums up:

So the arrested suspect is a black, gay, Democratic activist.

They just ain’t making neo-Nazis like they used to…

One wonders what the Times, Mayor DeBlasio, Governor Cuomo, and the liberal Facebook poster now make of their assertions that Mr. Polite’s anti-Semitic graffiti, “the vilest kind of hate,” was a product of “the disgusting rhetoric and heinous violence in this nation” and shows “the need to elect good people into office” along with “protest[ing] and demand[ing] real, direct action against acts of hate and violence.” Would those liberals stand by their characterizations, now that the perpetrator has been identified? Some would argue that they were correct, although not in the way they intended.

So far, the Times’s reaction has been terse: “Mr. Polite was taken to a hospital in Brooklyn for a psychiatric evaluation.” It looks like a simple case of mental illness.

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