The Crown Heights Riot Of 1991 Essay

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The Crown Heights Riot of 1991

Anti-Semitism has been prevalent throughout the world since the establishment of the Jewish religion and unfortunately, traces of it can still be found to this day in the United States. What exactly is anti-Semitism? It is the intense dislike for and prejudice against the Jews; it can range anywhere from simple opposition to the Jews to vicious hatred displayed through physical torment. Some examples of the more publicized cases of violence against the Jews include the attack of Irish workers and police on the funeral procession of Rabbi Jacob Joseph in New York City in 1902, the lynching of Leo Frank in 1915, the assassination of Alan Berg in 1984, as well as the Crown Heights riots of 1991. I have
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Even before the Crown Heights Riot of 1991, there has been a lineage of earlier incidents between African-Americans and Hasidic that foreshadows what was to come. “In the summer of 1986, blacks had allegedly beaten a Hasidic man to death in a subway station; in April 1987, some 400 blacks engaged in a protest march against what they considered to be Hasidic surveillance harassment; in March 1989, several Hasidic Jews reportedly crowded around and beat a young African-American, Chris Gilyard, who was 16 years old, who they suspected of slashing a Hadisic man, Shalom Rabkim, and his mother, Shoshana Rabkim, during a robber” (1). This goes to show how a riot occurring was all in the works- yet, the severity of it was definitely not predetermined by these incidents. All in all, the disparity and distrust between African-Americans and Jews in Crown Heights as well as the distrust of police along African-Americans definitely contributed to the increased rate of violence in the Crown Heights area in 1991. The culmination of the riot originated from a car crash that caused African-Americans to start pointing fingers at the Jews and vice versa. After leaving a cemetery to visit the grave of a leader of the Jewish community, Yosef Lifsh started to drive east on President Street when he either ran
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