Early this past summer, two events occurred in New York that were sufficiently ominous to warrant the anxieties they produced in community leaders and city officials alike. On June 14, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, a popular black community leader was killed in a struggle with police who were trying to arrest him. Two nights later, in the same neighborhood, yeshivah students chased, captured, and beat into a coma a sixteen-year-old black believed to have attacked an elderly Hasid. There were more ominous signs in the following weeks in the tone of the protest meetings put together by some Crown Heights blacks and numerous others from outside the neighborhood. A Protestant minister, to emerge from the turbulence of those days as the chief spokesman of the blacks, got a standing ovation at a protest rally in the course of a fiery attack on the Hasidim. He is reported to have said, “We’re going to get the Jews and the people in the long black coats!”
With talk of violence increasing, and with black spokesmen threatening retribution for crimes which, they said, the Hasidim had perpetrated on the black community of Crown Heights, Mayor Edward Koch appointed a Council on Intergroup Relations to defuse tensions. The fact is, however, that black-Jewish tensions had been palpably in the air for many months prior to these events. Furthermore, the anxiety generated in Jews by the Crown Heights affair is bound up with a larger uneasiness, and in particular with several episodes in the city’s recent history in which Jews, as Jews, have been singled out for public attack.
The most conspicuous case of this kind has been that of Mayor Koch himself, whose Jewishness has been the object of pointed attention from the day he took office, and even for a time before it. During the election campaign, on a tour of the North Bronx stronghold of his rival, Mario Cuomo, Koch was assailed in the streets by anti-Semitic epithets of so hoary a vintage that one of Koch’s chief aides had to explain to his young daughter, who had grown up oblivious of such terms, what a “kike” was. Then, when he was swept to a surprise victory over several other mayoral candidates, almost all of whom had been given a better chance of winning than he, Koch almost immediately ran afoul of black legislators.
Some of their hostility, at least, was predictable and had a history to it. In the early 70’s, Koch, then a Congressman, had taken a strong stand against the building of a massive low-income housing project in Forest Hills, one of the few intact middle-class Jewish communities left in the city. But as early as the day after Koch’s election as mayor, word began circulating of a new disquiet: Koch’s administration, it appeared, would be the first in many years in which no black sat on the Board of Estimate. The main source of this intelligence was Percy Sutton, the former borough president of Manhattan, who had chosen not to run again for that office in order to compete—unsuccessfully, as it turned out—for the mayoralty. In yielding his chance to be reelected to the borough presidency of Manhattan, a post traditionally held by blacks and one which also commanded a seat on the Board of Estimate, Sutton had, in effect, given up that one black seat (now held by Andrew Stein).
Such were the beginnings, in part, of an argument a good number of black politicians were to take up in the coming months—the argument that blacks had been brought to a new level of powerlessness with the advent of the Koch administration. The other part had to do with Koch’s Jewishness. Early on, black legislators and other spokesmen for the black community began to associate the policy decisions and the appointments made by the new mayor, all of which they vehemently opposed, with the fact of his Jewishness. Perhaps the first public expression of this view came from Fred Samuel, a Harlem councilman, who observed that as far as blacks were concerned, Koch was now the “Jewish mayor.” It did not matter that Koch’s predecessor, Abraham Beame, had also been a Jew, for Beame, Samuel explained to a New York Times reporter, “knew how to reach out to the black community.” By contrast, Koch’s appointment of “so many Jewish commissioners” and his “tightening up on the poverty boards” (the mayor had announced plans for a stringent restructuring of the city’s poverty programs) caused him to be seen as a representative of narrow, i.e., Jewish, interests.
There soon followed a host of warnings from black legislators and business and civic leaders against a “rising tide of anti-Semitism” which the new administration had, by its actions, supposedly engendered. The director of the New York City Urban League asserted that the Koch administration had “brought anti-Jewish and anti-black feelings out into the open.” Writing in the Amsterdam News, the city’s black newspaper, Reverend Lawrence Lucas, pastor of the Resurrection Roman Catholic Church in Harlem, observed that “From poverty programs on . . . it seems that only Jews can be found in the city to be qualified.”
To the warnings of anti-Semitism were added predictions of riots—“the type of street-oriented political mobilization that many in the black communities feel is not only inevitable but necessary,” as the Amsterdam News put it. James Dumpson, a black who was formerly head of the city’s Human Resources’ Administration, noted that “there is a seething discontent in this town on racial grounds that will make the past look like Fourth of July fireworks.” “He will blow this place up,” Bruce Llewellyn, a black business leader, warned, referring to the mayor. “I think the frustrations are going to build to such a point that things are going to explode,” observed Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
If their legislators and civic leaders were to be believed, then, the city’s black citizens had been brought by the new Koch administration to the brink of civil unrest. And indeed, no observer could fail to see that certain of the new administration’s policies and pronouncements were causing unrest among blacks; but neither could such an observer have failed to see precisely among which blacks this unrest was primarily to be found. For the issues over which the legislators and community leaders were so exercised had less to do with matters crucial to the interests of the black community as a whole than with matters crucial to the interests of a much more easily defined entity, the black establishment. Those issues, moreover, came down to two, or two-in-one—namely, black loss of patronage, and control of the city’s poverty programs.
Shortly after Koch took office, it was announced that the city would terminate contracts with five anti-poverty organizations. Among these was the sprawling Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action program, whose audits showed that 95 per cent of the funds for which it was responsible had been (as the mayor’s office explained with some delicacy of phrasing) “managed with accounting systems inadequate to safeguard the resources.” Other audits and investigations had uncovered a high degree of corruption and incompetence. In one program, for example, designed to provide college scholarships for the poor, it was found that in an annual budget of some $4.6 million, nearly $1.5 million had been devoted to “administrative expenses.” In another, the Fort Greene Poverty Corporation, the board had voted in as director an administrator who had just been convicted of stealing the corporation’s funds; he was finally removed when the mayor’s office threatened to withhold further funding.
Having terminated some poverty programs, and having announced his intent to restructure others, the mayor made known yet another plan destined to draw the wrath of black politicians and community leaders. Summer jobs for youths from welfare and low-income families, dispensations long under the control of black churches, community organizations, and political clubhouses, and a source of patronage power to black politicians, were henceforth to be taken over by the mayor’s office and assigned by computer-operated lottery. Worse: when the head of the National Association of Minority CPA Firms requested that the mayor set aside a number of city auditing contracts as an affirmative-action measure, the mayor replied that although he was willing to set aside several contracts for small businesses, he was unalterably opposed to preferential treatment for any group on the basis of race. The mayor had given a similar answer to fifteen black ministers and community leaders who had come to City Hall to present grievances concerning black unemployment, and to demand that they themselves be appointed as a committee in charge of this area; the confrontation ended when the ministers announced a sit-in and were finally led away in handcuffs.
The list of complaints did not stop here. Not only, it seems, was the mayor guilty of stripping power and money from the black political establishment, and not only were there few blacks remaining high in the mayor’s administration, but those who did remain were the wrong blacks. Thus, Koch had shed 6.3 million federal dollars from Model Cities, a relic of the anti-poverty wars of the 60’s, and had appointed Haskell Ward, a specialist on African affairs from the State Department and a black with no ties whatsoever to the city’s black establishment, as head of the Community Development Agency. Ward was the one who broke the news that the city’s three largest poverty programs were to be terminated; he was, black legislators complained, an “outsider,” a “black who couldn’t find his way to Harlem,” and thus another symbol of the mayor’s insensitivity.
This insensitivity was not limited to acts but extended to language and general style as well. The mayor was berated for using the term “povertician” in referring to those who had learned to manipulate poverty programs to their advantage, and also, more surprisingly, for demanding “competence” in the management of these programs. “Competence,” explained a mediator later in the summer, was a “code word,” and the mayor should have known that blacks would perceive it as such.
As for the mayor’s style, the problem was that he appeared actually to mean what he said—a quality for which he was compared invidiously to his predecessor, Abraham Beame. Whereas Beame, like Koch, had declared himself in favor of the merit system, he had nonetheless left intact a poverty establishment maintained nearly exclusively by blacks and Puerto Ricans since the early 60’s, as well as the patronage network on which the city’s politicians, white and black, had traditionally depended. For it was not what Beame said that mattered to the black politicians, but what he did, or rather did not do. Koch, by contrast, had suited deed to words, and by upsetting the traditional system of political spoils—jobs and influence—had become the “Jewish mayor.”
No appointment by the mayor was to cause a greater furor than that of Blanche Bernstein as head of the Human Resources Administration. Miss Bernstein became the object of concerted protest. She was a “certified racist,” according to a full-page advertisement in the Amsterdam News, and a “hardliner” on welfare—this because in a 1973 paper for the Joint Economic Committee Miss Bernstein had observed that high welfare benefits destroyed the incentive to work, and because she had refused more recently to lend her support to a campaign for increased welfare benefits. Of more immediate concern to the association of black social workers orchestrating the opposition to Miss Bernstein was her dismissal, on the grounds of poor performance, of one of the heads of the Family and Adult Services Division of HRA, an administrator well connected in black political circles. An additional cause of opposition was her failure to send a prompt answer to a letter of the black social workers demanding a meeting with the new commissioner to ascertain whether, as the letter put it, she had been “appointed as a hatchet woman to get rid of blacks in HRA.”
The truth was that after Miss Bernstein took office a white Jewish administrator and three blacks had been asked to resign; of the three positions vacated by blacks, two were filled by blacks, and another black held a newly established post in fiscal affairs. Furthermore, the number of blacks appointed and promoted to executive-level jobs under the new commissioner was greater than that under any previous administration, including that of her black predecessor.
Yet these easily verifiable facts in no way diminished the fervor of the attack on Miss Bernstein by the black social workers and by the editors of the Amsterdam News. Not deterred by facts, either, were other black spokesmen who continued to repeat that Miss Bernstein had “replaced the four top black HRA commissioners while retaining the ten top white administrators, thus creating a lily-white decision-making power structure.” In a rhetorical sleight-of-hand altogether reflective of the uses to which the black community is now habitually put by its official spokesmen, the Amsterdam News first suggested a similarity between the new HRA commissioner and certain notorious Southern racists, and in the same breath worried aloud that just such a notion might take hold among blacks, thus setting off street riots: “It will not take much for Miss Bernstein’s name to become synonymous in the black community with Bull Connor and Jim Clark—those enemies of the black community of the recent Southern past—whether she deserves such a designation or not.”
The campaign against Miss Bernstein, like the black establishment’s dispute with the mayor, had little to do with issues of social policy and much to do with the pragmatic concerns of a constituency that could by no stretch of the imagination be called the poor. Most revealing in this regard were the “fact sheets” put out by the black social workers and others concerning Miss Bernstein’s “anti-poor,” “racist,” and “anti-people” attitudes. Prominent among the concerns of the “poor” and the “indigent” raised in these was the number of white HRA administrators who were in the position of awarding “major contractual services,” the number of contracts given white agencies, and the greater number of whites as opposed to blacks in executive positions and earning over $30,000 a year. Not unreasonable concerns, perhaps, but of dubious relation to the interests of the welfare poor. Like so many recent campaigns waged in the name of the poor, this one did not quite manage to conceal the fact that its primary purpose lay in bettering the lives and fortunes of a much smaller and infinitely less needy group, the welfare and poverty professionals.
The controversy over Miss Bernstein was the second such in which it was suggested that certain socially reprehensible attitudes held by officials of the new administration were, in their nature, Jewish. In the case of Mayor Koch, the connection between his attitudes (“arrogant,” “bigoted”) and his Jewishness remained only a suggestion. But in the case of Miss Bernstein, at least one black spokesman publicly declared that the very elements in her makeup which rendered her unfit to head the Human Resources Administration—racism, insensitivity, lack of charity toward the poor—were attributable to “her Jewish middle-class background.” The New York Times reporter in whose front-page article this quotation first appeared further noted that many blacks specifically identified as Jewish, not as white, those persons they disliked in the Koch administration.
Such was the history which preceded the Crown Heights affair, and which made that affair so dangerous a portent. For here, finally, were grounds for that mob violence so often predicted by politicians and editorial writers speaking in the name of the black community. Two highly inflammatory incidents had followed close on one another, and the city press produced headlines—“Fifty Vigilantes Brutally Beat Black Youth” (New York Post)—of a sort that might have incited the most peaceable of communities.
Inevitably, the two separate events became entangled. The first, the death of Arthur Miller-killed while being forced into a police squad car—had incensed Crown Heights blacks and left the police unnerved; perhaps that is why they made so quick an arrest in the second event, the beating of Victor Rhodes. The two arrested Hasidim, both in their middle twenties, were charged with taking part in the beating despite protests from other Jews that the men were innocent travelers, Canadian citizens who had chanced to be driving through the neighborhood just as the police were looking for someone to apprehend. “Give us the right ones and we’ll let them go,” the police told some protesting Hasidim, who responded to this virtual admission that the two Canadians were being held as hostages by putting up $40,000 in bail.
Ascertaining the facts in the Arthur Miller case was simple—the direct cause of death was sustained pressure on the windpipe, apparently administered by the (black) auxiliary policeman who had helped in the arrest. By comparison, labyrinthine confusion surrounded the Rhodes incident, with blacks charging that twenty or more Hasidim had without provocation set upon an innocent youth, and the Hasidim charging that Rhodes had attacked an elderly Jew. One version had it that Rhodes hit the Jew with a stick, another that he grabbed his yarmulke, one that the attackers were yeshivah students who passed Rhodes on their return from a wedding, another that they were Jews who had rushed from their houses on hearing a call for help. This much, at any rate, was clear: having heard cries of an attack, and having identified Rhodes as the attacker, a number of Hasidim chased, caught, and beat him comatose.
It was not the first time Jews and blacks had clashed in Crown Heights, where still pleasant tree-lined streets house some 30,000 Hasidim and 55,000 blacks. In no other section of the city, perhaps, have intergroup rivalries been more intense, the contest for political power more vividly defined. The Jews are serious voters; the Hasidim among them, in particular, have political “clout,” the product of their community’s vote-delivering capacity. It is this, Crown Heights black leaders have alleged in recent years, which gives the Hasidim disproportionate political influence. Taking up this charge shortly after the Rhodes incident, a lead article in the Village Voice explained that the Hasidim run Crown Heights virtually as they wish, to the detriment of the black majority living there: “Everyone of age among the Hasidim registers to vote, and votes; and nearly everyone votes according to orders from above.” It is “a perfectly legal way to run elections,” allowed the Voice, “like the delivery of any other commodity”—the suggestion being that there is something both conspiratorial and unsavory in the voting behavior of Crown Heights Jews.
The allegation that the Jews “control” Crown Heights became, after the Rhodes incident, the dominant issue in the conflict, overshadowing even the death of Arthur Miller. Again, the roots of resentment ran deep. In no other area of the city had that cornerstone of activist faith, “community control,” been used to greater effect than by the Hasidim of Crown Heights. The Hasidim even had their own ambulance, a circumstance that had come about after one of their rabbis, Samuel Schrage, died of a heart attack when ambulance attendants had arrived too late and too drunk to get him to a hospital on time. The Hasidim subsequently collected $20,000 and purchased for community use an ambulance which remained parked before Lubavitcher headquarters. Black community leaders maintained that the ambulance the hasidic community kept for its own was city-owned and paid for with tax dollars. Although there was no truth in the contention, it continued to be raised regularly in the course of newspaper interviews.
So great was the political influence of the Hasidim, black leaders averred, that they even controlled the local police, as evidenced by the ’round-the-clock patrol cars assigned, since 1966, to Lubavitcher headquarters and to the residence of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Schneerson. The year before, there had been a march on Lubavitcher headquarters demanding an end to the guard on the ground that blacks, in fear for their lives on account of the hasidic street patrols, had their own need of the police. Mayor Beame heard these demands and answered, with the accommodating art for which he was justly famed, and a touch, possibly, of mordancy, that the police cars would not be removed but he would see to it personally that anyone in need of protection from the Hasidim would have the help of the police.
Among the leaders of that earlier march, and one of the voices in the new protests as well, was Reverend Heron Sam, long a militant antagonist of the Hasidim. (In an open letter to the Amsterdam News some months ago, Reverend Sam urged blacks to beware of “Zionist expansion,” meaning the buying by Hasidim of real estate.) Another leader of the black unity organization formed after the Miller and Rhodes incidents was Reverend Herbert Daughtry, a self-styled Crown Heights community leader whose residence was in New Jersey, whose church was in downtown Brooklyn, at some remove from Crown Heights, and who was a graduate of the New Jersey state prison system, where he had served time for armed robbery and forgery. It was Daughtry whose speeches against the Hasidim made him overnight the leader of the Crown Heights protest.
An initial and highly emotional meeting was held soon after the Rhodes incident. Among the speakers was His Excellency Dramaine Oauattara of the Organization of African Unity, who compared the fates of Miller and Rhodes with that of Steven Biko. Plans were made to form a Black United Front, an association to protect blacks from hasidic “terrorists”—Reverend Daughtry’s term for the street patrol organized by the Hasidim—and from the police. The Black United Front was initiated a week later, with some three hundred black men snuffing out candles with their bare fingers and mingling blood in an oath-taking ceremony. Led by Reverend Daughtry, the green-jacketed members of the Front held a march the following Sunday.
Fear that the day might bring violence seemed not unreasonable, and, as usual, black spokesmen were in no way anxious to dispel that fear. Indeed, Dr. Vernal Cave, a founding member of the Black United Front, noted, in the course of an interview with a Times reporter, that if blacks could not stop the city and the Hasidim from kicking them around, “maybe it will be time for people like me to step aside and let the people who say that violence is the only answer take over.” To complicate matters further, the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association had chosen the same Sunday to hold a march of its own in Crown Heights, ostensibly in memory of the police officers slain there in the line of duty. The “memorial” march—a barely disguised union action undertaken to apply pressure at a time when the city was negotiating the police contract and meant to suggest, as well, a counter-rally against the blacks—produced its intended confrontation. Scores of off-duty policemen and clenched-fist blacks stood face to face screaming mutual insults, under the eyes of the bemused Hasidim, who looked down upon the spectacle from the roof of Lubavitcher headquarters. They were soon to hear Reverend Daughtry tell the protesters that they stood that day in the shadow of their oppressors. Appeals were made for a boycott of hasidic stores, and were followed by calls to the uniformed police guarding Lubavitcher headquarters to stand aside for just ten minutes and let the crowd do its work. Earlier that day, sound trucks of the Black United Front had rolled through the streets of Crown Heights threatening that the houses of Hasidim would be burned.
The next day, the press congratulated the Black United Front for having held a peaceful rally. Two Village Voice reporters took the occasion to note the “insularity” of the Hasidim and their “somewhat affronting self-image as the guiding light of the world,” and to complain as well about the employment by the Hasidim of black construction workers in the conversion of old buildings into yeshivah dormitories. The only people (aside from the Jews) who appeared to have taken serious note of the actual tenor of the rally were a coalition of twenty-four black Baptist ministers who publicly dissociated themselves from the anti-Semitic attitudes in evidence at the rally and from any organization intent on fomenting anti-Semitism. As for the Amsterdam News, it ran an approving banner headline: “Blacks Warn Jews.”
It was left for the New York Times to ask editorially for a view of the situation in Crown Heights which took account of the other side, and specifically of the many attacks and daily harassments to which Hasidim were subjected by the black and Hispanic majority surrounding them. Indeed, as the Times said, the hasidic community had suffered grievously over the years. Perhaps the most searing incident in recent memory was the mugging of a ninety-year-old Jew, found tied to his bed, his tallis stuffed down his throat. Not long after that, a seventeen-year-old yeshivah student had been stabbed to death by two Hispanics as he walked out of a synagogue; this was a crime of the sort usually described by the police as “motiveless” (which is to say the killers had not wanted money), but whose motive was nonetheless clear: the killers had wanted to kill the Jew in the long black coat who had crossed their path. Another student had been shot in the arm by a black, while another, older Hasid had been shot to death as he returned from Sabbath prayers.
It had been in the face of these crimes and lesser ones that the Hasidim had organized their street patrols, which some blacks characterized as the operations of vigilantes. Yet so efficacious was this militant nightly stance against crime that during the 1977 blackout, the looters who ravaged neighborhood after surrounding neighborhood had not dared to enter Crown Heights where the Hasidim lived. The Hasidim were known to race into the streets at the sound of a scream or any other signal for help (and had interfered, thus, in crimes against blacks as well as whites).
In all, the catalogue of crime and harassment against Hasidim was a long one, and it was this, as the Times pointed out, which lay behind the beating of Victor Rhodes. To say this is hardly to exculpate Rhodes’s attackers, none of whose outrage justified the violence perpetrated on a symbolic target, whatever he may have done—much less one so outnumbered. Few, indeed, were the Jews in New York to whom, particularly in the days immediately following, the Rhodes affair was not a painful or disquieting event. Yet the use which Crown Heights black leaders made of that unhappy incident was chilling. For, like the controversies stirred up around Mayor Koch and Blanche Bernstein, the controversy issuing from the Rhodes affair was at heart an expression of a bitter contest for power and for gain. In the ensuing weeks, far greater attention came to be lavished on the beating of Victor Rhodes than on the death, at police hands, of Arthur Miller—one would not, indeed, have guessed that Rhodes was the one who was alive and Miller the one who was dead. The logic of emphasis was undeniable: between opposing those whom they took to be their oppressors (the police) and those whom they took to be their competitors (the Jews), the blacks chose their competitors.
At the peak of the Crown Heights conflict, a black resident stated in a newspaper interview his wish that the Hasidim might be more sociable neighbors, but asserted as well that because of them, the neighborhood was still a good one and his wife was safe on its streets. The Hasidim, he said, were hard-working and peaceful people, and besides, he had no desire to live in an all-black neighborhood of the kind Crown Heights would surely have become had not the Hasidim determined to stay there. Another black citizen wrote to the Amsterdam News chastising that paper for its hostile representations of the Hasidim, reminding it that “after all, many black people” deliberately chose to live next to the hard-working and able Hasidim.
However drowned by the oratory of Reverend Daughtry and others, these viewpoints could not have been isolated ones. And as it turned out, despite wishful thinking about “street-oriented mobilizations,” despite virtual solicitations to riot printed in the Amsterdam News and echoed by black political leaders, there were no riots. Having resisted the siren calls of their politicians, the blacks of Crown Heights and the rest of the city continued to go about their business; in the following weeks, for a demonstration timed to coincide with President Carter’s visit to New York, Reverend Daughtry could raise only 150 marchers.
What, then, was the significance of Crown Heights? In timeless fashion, Jews were being accused of buying influence and of wielding power disproportionate to their numbers—power which, it was charged, they used to help themselves and to deprive others. Voting, that sacred affirmation of the political process, became, when exercised by Hasidim, an act of chicanery. The employment of black construction workers—giving people jobs—was equated with exploitation. (No leap of imagination is required to know the charge of which the Hasidim would have stood accused had they not employed black construction workers.) But of all the representations made against the Hasidim, the most notable was that they were a violent and threatening group, in the face of whose depredations a peaceful black community lived in fear of its very life. The inversion of reality expressed in this idea was reminiscent of nothing so much as the UN’s Zionism/racism resolution, with its image of a world held at bay by the existence of a single, democratic country. Indeed, Crown Heights had provided a domestic version of that malignant declaration.
Like any number of incidents before it, like the attacks on the Jewish mayor and his Human Resources commissioner, Crown Heights offered evidence of a new set of attitudes toward Jews. To put it at its most blunt, the public expression of anti-Semitic sentiment, as a means of conveying political antagonism, seems now to have become normal. So much so, that virtually no public notice could be taken of the explicitly anti-Jewish tirades of Crown Heights leaders, the threats to burn down Jewish houses, the enlistments to riot and commit mayhem against Jews. Still, to appreciate the enormity of what was being urged, one need only suppose for a moment a reversal of roles. Suppose an announcement by Jewish civic leaders, for example, that because of the savage crimes of violence perpetrated on the Jewish elderly by blacks, there was to be a boycott of black businesses. Or suppose a warning from Jewish politicians that the militant anti-Israel stance of certain black Congressmen was causing a rising tide of racism among Jews which blacks would do well to appease. It is an impossible supposition. But just such warnings, to Jews, were issued over and over during the Crown Heights affair, and each of them was meant as a reminder of Jewish vulnerability.
In mid-September, the Amsterdam News, which had done so much to foment division, rancor, and hatred of Jews, published an editorial calling for a reconciliation between the black and Jewish communities. With a fine sense of irresponsibility when it came to its own role in this entire sorry history, the paper managed to suggest only that some tragic misunderstanding had occurred between the two communities, which a new infusion of good will would overcome. Perhaps. No doubt some misunderstandings did occur. But no doubt, too, those mainly responsible for them understood perfectly well what they were doing, and were not loath to use the tawdriest of weapons in going about it. That these weapons may now be flaunted openly and with apparent impunity is the real significance of New York’s latest black-Jewish conflict.