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Amid pandemic, de Blasio privileging of protest over prayer lights a fire on Jewish social media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that he still supported quarantine measures that limited attendance at houses of worship to 10, even as he supported mass protests in the city against police brutality.

While appearing at a virtual press conference, de Blasio was asked by a reporter for the Jewish outlet Hamodia about what the reporter saw as an inconsistency between his support for the protests and his opposition to opening up synagogues or shops. “What about the retail store owner facing imminent financial ruin or the religious person who cannot appear in their house of worship?” the reporter asked, adding, “Do we have one set of rules for protesters and another for everyone else?”

De Blasio responded with umbrage, saying that anyone thinking there are two rules “is not trying very hard to see the reality.” He added that the anguish over shopkeepers’ economic instability or parishioners’ inability to gather together en masse was not in the same league as protesting prejudice.

“400 years of American racism, I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services,” he said.

The remarks were harshly criticized on social media.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink


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