Crown Heights: 20 years later, Part two
(Page 2 of 3)
In all, the street violence against the Crown Heights Jews lasted three days starting with the evening of the accident. On Thursday evening, cops finally restored order, although sporadic violence against Jews continued for weeks after the riot was contained.
Yankel Rosenbaum wasn’t the only person murdered by the rioters. Forgotten by history was the murder of Italian-American Anthony Graziosi, who was driving in Crown heights on Sept. 5. Graziosi was dragged out of his car, brutally beaten and stabbed to death because his full beard and dark clothing, causing him to be mistaken for a Hasidic Jew.
During the funeral of Gavin Cato four days after the riot, Sharpton gave an anti-Semitic eulogy, fueling fires of hatred, using words that could have been written by Desmond Tutu.
“The world will tell us he was killed by accident. Yes, it was a social accident... It’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of Crown Heights... Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights. The issue is not anti-Semitism; the issue is apartheid... All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise, no meetings, no kaffe klatsch, no skinnin’ and grinnin’. Pay for your deeds.”
The first Shabbat after the funeral, Sharpton tried unsuccessfully to kick up tensions again by marching 400 protesters in front of the Lubavitch headquarters shouting “No Justice, no Peace.”
Sharpton abandoned the Caribbean people of Crown Heights as soon as the anti-Semitic violence had died down. His entire participation in the violence may have been a calculated effort to usurp Jesse Jackson as the leading spokesman for African-Americans. Jackson may have had is “Hymie-town,” but Sharpton’s incitement against those Jews who held the power he desired were more than words.