New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio managed to enrage members of a Brooklyn synagogue by comparing Syrian refugees to Jews fleeing Nazi-held Europe during World War II.
He made his remarks Saturday in his Sabbath address before the Syrian Jewish community in his Sabbath address at Brooklyn’s Congregation Shaare Zion, according to the New York Post.
“I know this community understands deeply the pain of any family that must leave a homeland they love because they were forced away by violence and discrimination,” de Blasio said.
“When it comes to saving children and families from one of the greatest crises of our times, I remind people to look at history,” he added.
Audience member-worshippers weren’t inclined to agree with the mayor’s comparison.
“I don’t think it’s a fair comparison . . . The Jews never had a history of being destructive,” Brooklyn resident Judy Zarug told the Post.
“I was sitting next to a woman who is a Syrian refugee and she really reacted and it was uncomfortable.”
A congregant who fled Syria also thought the comparison was wrong.
“The difference between me coming here in 1991 with my family is that we were kicked out for being Jewish.”
The Post reported that the only applause of the evening came when the mayor promised to protect the city’s Jews following targeted attacks in Jerusalem and Paris this year.
New York is the home of approximately one million Jews, comprising 13 percent of the population.
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