New York City Mayor Eric Adams took aim at celebrities who “spew out” antisemitism during a speech at the city’s largest synagogue.
“Far too many sports figures and entertainers are using these new terminologies of credible messengers and influencers to spew out hateful thinking in general, but specifically antisemitism,” Adams said during his speech at the Temple Emanu-El Shabbat services Friday.
Adams comments come as Israel continues to fight back against a surprise attack launched on the country by Hamas last weekend, dragging the country into a conflict that has already claimed thousands of lives.
But the battle in Israel has also highlighted the continued battle against antisemitism at home. Hamas called for Friday to be a “Day of Rage” and capped off a week of protests nationwide against Israel’s response to the Gaza attacks.
One New York City rally last week promoted by the local Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) chapter included pro-Hamas demonstrators ridiculing Israel supporters with images of a swastika.
According to a report released by Tel Aviv University’s Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the Anti-Defamation League earlier this year, antisemitism continued to rise throughout the U.S. and the world in 2022. The report came after the 2021 version set new highs for antisemitic incidents, with he authors noting that “2022 did not mark a reversal of the trend, and in some countries, most alarmingly the United States, it intensified.”
During his speech, Adams called on celebrities to use their influence to reverse the seemingly growing trend.
“Let’s bring them to the table… use your influence and power to make sure that you reach and prick the consciousness of young people across the globe,” Adams said. “Let’s damn the rivers that don’t allow us to communicate with each other.”
Adams also pointed to America’s college campuses as being part of the problem, arguing the institutions have become “breeding grounds of hate.”
“Let’s damn the river on our college campuses,” Adams said. “Our college campuses used to produce academic achievement and geniuses that talked about how do we move our countries and our cities forward. Those college campuses have now become breeding grounds of hate, and we have to be honest about it.”
The speech came against the backdrop of heavy security at the synagogue by NYPD, with some members saying there has been a rise in threats against New York City’s Jewish population in the wake of the war in Israel.
“Something is wrong with that in the city of New York, where we have the largest Jewish population outside of Israel,” Adams said. “If you don’t feel safe here, where else can you feel safe? We have to change that course.”