The Brooklyn Trump rally focuses on Orthodox anger on the mayor and governor
NEW YORK – Over a thousand predominantly Orthodox Jews gathered in Brooklyn on Sunday for a rally in support of Donald Trump, to take the opportunity to loudly voice their grievances against the Democratic leadership in New York and to award another four years of Republican President demand.
The Brooklyn Marine Park demonstration came after weeks of tension in many Orthodox neighborhoods in the district over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in had imposed new restrictions on these areas.
Some ultra-Orthodox communities in Brooklyn have made national headlines on allegations that their refusal to adhere to coronavirus guidelines resulted in an increase in new cases in September. Orthodox leaders accuse Cuomo and de Blasio of wrongly singling out their communities and taking punitive action instead of dealing with them.
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While the infection rate has since declined and restrictions have been lifted in some places, most of them remain in Brooklyn, along with tensions between the Jewish community and city and state leaders.
“Hey Cuomo, you probably wouldn’t have let that happen [gathering]… Come get me! “Said the moderator of the rally, Nachman Mostofsky, the executive director of the right-wing pro-Israel political group Chovevei Zion.
A father and son wave Trump flags in Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2020. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
The rally was the final destination of a parade convoy that chugged through the streets of Rockland Counties Monsey, Long Islands Five Towns, Manhattan and a number of predominantly Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Organized by the Jews for Trump group, cars in the procession blew up remixed versions of the president’s speeches, festive Jewish music and campaign soundtrack slogans. In several places, the drivers were confronted with anti-Trump activists.
New York police said seven people were detained in connection with physical confrontations in Times Square. The indictment was still pending on Sunday evening.
NY: Photos, Hundreds of Orthodox Jews attend today’s pro-Trump rally in Brooklyn. The event is peaceful and colorful. Pic.twitter.com/fUOn5Wo2NR
– Yiddish News (@YiddishNews) October 25, 2020
Videos filmed near Midtown Manhattan showed spectators throwing eggs and other objects at the convoy. In another incident reported by Fox News, an anti-Trump activist sprayed pepper spray on a family of seven while they were joining the convoy in their car.
Organizers said hundreds of vehicles took part in the convoy parade, which has become a staple of Trump supporters across the country. Unlike many other places where they have taken place, New York is a deep blue and Trump has the slightest chance of wearing the state.
Protesters greet a convoy arriving for a pro-Trump rally in Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2020. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
In a tweet merging the governor’s and mayor’s surnames, organizers joked about turning the Democratic fortress into a Republican bastion: “Can we turn DeCuomo’s red zones into NY red?”
While the Brooklyn convoy and rally were not representative of the political make-up of New York, and particularly dark-blue New York City, they seemed to accurately reflect the level of Orthodox support for the president, which a recent poll found at 83 percent .
Boris Epshteyn, Trump’s Jewish outreach director, paid tribute to the state’s democratic leanings and urged the crowd to focus on getting others in swing states to vote for the GOP. “Tell all your friends in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to vote,” he said.
Despite the animosity that was regularly expressed throughout the evening towards Cuomo and de Blasio, who have been strictly campaigning for social distancing guidelines to be followed across the city, most of the attendees wore masks and people were encouraged to to spread out even though the crowd was crammed close to the stage.
In an apparent effort to help the organizers, one of the demonstrators wearing a Trump latex costume mask shouted, “We have to keep socialism from socialism!”
People wave Trump flags at a rally in Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2020. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
When organizers blew up festive Jewish music in Hebrew and Yiddish, participants resisted the urge to hold hands and dance the hora, instead waving flags and swinging to the tunes.
Many Trump rally staples attended the gathering: several depictions of the villagers’ “YMCA”; Attendees with American, MAGA, and Trump 2020 flags; proclaim the “troop” of progressive democrats; Chants of “lock him up” in response to cues from Democratic challenger Joe Biden and even more screams of “four more years” when mentioning the president.
However, the Brooklyn rally also had a uniquely Jewish flair, beginning with Mincha afternoon prayers for about two dozen worshipers who snuck through the service before sunset.
“What’s a Trump rally without Mincha,” said one of the worshipers when they were done.
Protesters gather to pray prior to a pro-Trump rally on October 25, 2020 in Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York, Mincha. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
While support for Trump was a main topic, the speakers mostly focused on Cuomo and de Blasio in their successive speeches.
“Why are Black Lives Matter protesters allowed to take to the streets, but our community cannot celebrate [the holiday of] Sukkot or burying our dead? “asked Epshteyn for a chorus of boos from the crowd, which then began to sing” Fire de Blasio! “.
Trump Campaign Jewish Outreach Director Boris Epshteyn (L) took to the stage at a pro-Trump rally in Marine Park Brooklyn on October 25, 2020. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
“It starts with [them targeting] the Orthodox and then they come for the rest of us, ”said a booming Epshteyn, wearing a three-piece suit and sounding like a wrestling announcer.
“I know that Cuomo and de Blasio no longer want us to live in New York. Hey King Andy [Cuomo]I’m sorry I told you, but we’re all New Yorkers, ”said Mostofsky.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) and Mayor Bill de Blasio discuss state and city readiness for the coronavirus to spread in New York on March 2, 2020. (AP / Mark Lennihan)
Former New York State MP Dov Hikind, who represented the highly Orthodox Borough Park as a Democrat for three decades, claimed the party had begun to “embrace Jew hatred” in recent years.
He recalled recent conversations with American Jews who were concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism in the United States and asked him, “Do you think there is a future here? How much time do we have left? “
Brooklyn Jews for @realDonaldTrump: 4 more years !!! pic.twitter.com/3pC62bmGGL
– Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) October 25, 2020
“If you don’t want to worry about the future, you have no choice but to vote for Donald J. Trump,” Hikind said cheerfully.
Despite the fighting over the convoy, the rally was a far quieter affair than a series of Orthodox Jewish protests in Brooklyn that got out of hand as protesters burned masks and addressed reporters. These rallies were mostly attended by young Haredi men, while the Sunday event attracted a more family-friendly crowd, including young children and men and women of all ages.
Heshy Tischler, a far-right community leader who organized the protests in Borough Park and was accused of causing a riot for his actions at the demonstrations, was shunned by some when he appeared at Marine Park.
When Carpenter, a radio host who is running for the city council, tried to use a megaphone to address the crowd after the rally was over, organizers began playing music to drown him out. If that wasn’t enough, Mostofsky performed another chant of “Another four years!”
A modestly dressed Orthodox woman stood near the park entrance, watching in disgust and shaking her head in disgust.
“You disagree with them?” a Spanish woman asked, seemingly surprised.
“Are you kidding? Absolutely not. And I am embarrassed that so many in my community have accepted Trump when so much of his message is involved in hatred for others.”
“I’m not a democrat, but it’s just too much,” she said, trying to talk about the exploding Jewish music.
Community activist Heshy Tischler greets fans near the stage of a Pro-Trump rally in Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2020. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
Carpenter seemed popular with the younger crowd and was populated by elementary and high school aged boys who chanted his name repeatedly throughout the evening.
“He let me shoot a video of him!” said one of Carpenter’s young fans as he ran excitedly to his mother.
Hikind told The Times of Israel that Carpenter “only represents himself” to the adults in the room.
He also said he was uncomfortable with Trump’s style and “desire”[ed] someone took their twitter account and flushed it in the toilet. “
When asked if his discomfort was shared by other members of the Orthodox community, Hikind replied in the affirmative. “We wish Trump’s style was different. But we have to look at the substance and the politics, which are really good. “
People gather near the stage of a pro-Trump rally in Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2020. (Jacob Magid / Times of Israel)
Others at the rally are more likely to forgive Trump’s temperament. “He speaks his mind when so many of us are scared,” said Sarah Altman, 56, from Brooklyn.
“If I would speak like that, no, but it’s nice to have a leader who isn’t afraid,” she added.
When asked about her thoughts on Trump’s “style”, another protester, Shira Rosen, appeared to be insulting. “What do you mean by style? You mean the style of making America great again? “