The barbaric attacks by Hamas terrorists against the citizens of Israel on October 7 have sewn a new level of division across the United States. In their aftermath, Americans on both sides of the conflict have taken to the streets, and while many are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights, too often we are seeing bad actors come into play – bad actors who seek to take advantage of the current climate and turn peaceful protests into something much different

Let me be clear on this: Hamas is nothing short of a terrorist organization, and support of this group - especially by the Democratic Socialists of America, which some members of Congress align themselves with - is wrong and cannot be tolerated. For a party that preaches at the altar of social justice and equality, they are certainly good at ignoring their own message.

Unfortunately, our current politicians in Albany and in the New York City Council seem unwilling to do anything to address issue of rising anti-Semitism, or to enact laws that would hold those guilty of assault, vandalism, or hate crimes accountable. Since enacting no cash bail, violent crime, especially those of an anti-Semitic nature, have skyrocketed. While our politicians may claim to be concerned about crime or to care about our Jewish communities, that support, as we are seeing from their lack of action, is purely performative.

If our politicians truly wanted to rein in the vile attacks on New York’s Jewish population, they would crack down on crime, and seek to punish those who commit them and their supporters. Policies like no cash bail have only increased the crime in New York, and the politicians who so fervently voted to pass these things into law seem blissfully unaware of the fallout that has ensued since the implementation of these overly idealistic so-called “reforms.” 

The recent riot by students at Hillcrest High School serves as a perfect example of what happens when un-check anti-Semitism blends with un-punished criminality. On November 20, hundreds of students tore through the halls of the school, forcing a Pro-Israel teacher to hide in a locked room while many online cheered and called for violence.

Our society cannot tolerate these kinds of attacks by anyone, especially not in institutions designed to foster learning and debate. No one should ever feel unsafe in school, regardless of whether you are a student or teacher.

Currently the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau is investigating the riot at Hillcrest, which should give some insight to the level of unrest that took place in the school. 18-year-old kids should not be getting arrested for aggravated harassment against a teacher. Riots should not be erupting inside a high school over a pro-Israel social media post. These are all signs of the decay within our systems, and the urgent need for change. Half-hearted Tweets and empty platitudes just won’t cut it anymore. Those in power need to take accountability and do something to help New Yorkers before things get even worse.

One way to actually do something is to actually call out those who are facilitating hatred. Despite this seemingly clear fact, however, many Democratic politicians refuse to call out the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for their support of Hamas. One may wonder why this is? Do they agree with the DSA and support violent acts of terrorism? Or are they too afraid to speak up and lose support come Election time? Either way, too many Democratic politicians are willing to place the radicals in their own party above common sense and Israel’s right to exist. At an extremely vulnerable time for many Jewish Americans, these stances have distanced them from the people they supposedly want to help.

Times like these call for leaders who will stand up against violent crime against all. The silence that we hear from our Democratic politicians speaks volumes.

Let’s get tough on crime, tough against anti-Semitism, and stand up for law-abiding New Yorkers. Let’s change the status quo in Albany, and elect leaders who actually stand for something next year.

By Colonel Thomas P. Sullivan,
Candidate for New York State Assembly