Keeping Sharpton debate alive


To the editor:

(re: “Blacks and Jews: It’s the great Gordon/Wolf debate,” May 20)

Unfortunately, few know many of the facts concerning the Crown Heights riots. And retelling them will probably not change the minds who need to see “Jewish” or malfeasance everywhere.

The Crown Heights riots were sparked by the death of Gavin Cato — and injury to his cousin Angela — when a car ran a red light, was broadsided, and pushed onto the sidewalk. Gavin and Angela were pinned under the car, and Gavin died.

Yes, the first ambulance to arrive was a Jewish unit, and the personnel got out and wanted to raise the smashed car off Gavin Cato. The police were on the scene, and a crowd was gathering. The police told the Jewish ambulance personnel to leave immediately, hoping to head off a disturbance.

Rumors about the Jews not caring about Blacks running through did the rest of the damage.

Mayor David Dinkins bears enormous blame for the extent of the riots. Since when does a mayor beg a mob — if, in fact, he did — from marching?

This mayor, in fact, refused to call out the police in any protective way for four days, leaving Jewish homes and people at risk.

There are 911 calls recorded where people said that bricks were being thrown through windows, and 911 operators telling them to “close your windows.”

After four days, when Dinkins did tell the police to quell the riots, it was over in a matter of hours.

Just in case nobody remembers the history of the time, Mayor Dinkins had also previously refused to enforce the law during the Korean fruit store disturbance. Dinkins was no beleaguered hero during his tenure.

I have two things I wish to say about Al Sharpton.

In the 1980s, a Black teenager — Tawana Brawley — claimed she had been raped by white men (including cops). Al Sharpton took center stage inciting passions about “our African queens” and racism. The fact that he never even tried to establish any facts concerning Brawley’s allegation despite daily pronouncements felt like we were heading for a racial civil war.

At some point, when Sharpton was forced to discuss his facts and how he learned them, he said — and I paraphrase — I don’t engage in sex talk with minors.

The man is a dangerous demagogue. It turned out that the whole affair had been manufactured by a frightened teenager.

On the first anniversary of the Crown Heights riots, there was great fear in the local Crown Heights Jewish community as to what violence might break out.

I was watching events from across the street from where the speakers were. The only speaker I remember was Sharpton, and he was doing his best to whip up the crowd.

Fortunately, there was an adequate police presence and few people in the attending crowd.

And yes, Dr. Wolf, there has been a lot more going on in terms of Black anti-Semitism. Where were you in the ‘90s when the cry across campuses was “The Jews ran the slave trade”? This movement gradually helped spawn, and works with, the boycott-divestment-sanctions movement, and others for whom no fact is sacred.

It’s all about “my truth,” but never the truth.

Sura Jeselsohn

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Sura Jeselsohn,