NYC News

Bragg won’t stop it: Protest slams NY DA who refuses to prosecute Jew-menacing thugs


Protesters chanted “Bragg, Bragg, punish crime, make sure criminals do their time” and “do your job,” during a rally outside the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Monday morning.

About 50 demonstrators were expressing their upset that the prosecutor opted to not even bargain for pleas from antisemitic protesters who occupied buildings at Columbia University.

Columbia Professor Shai Davidai, a leading critic of his employer for tolerating Jew-hatred, told those assembled that he was appalled as a father, a Jewish man and a taxpayer.

“We pay for that guy to do his job, and he refuses to do it,” Davidai said at the rally, organized by End Jew Hatred.

The Israeli native believes two reasons to be behind Bragg’s dropping of charges against 31 of the 46 people who illegally occupied Columbia’s Hamilton Hall, and whom police arrested inside the building.

Bragg’s office explained last week that there was insufficient evidence to charge the dozens of masked invaders even with criminal trespassing. There was limited video evidence since the masked protesters covered up cameras, and the suspects had no criminal history, it said.

Bragg visited a Holocaust center just a week before deciding to drop the charges, and on the day he decided on the dismissals he  signed a pledge to prosecute hate crimes fully amid rising antisemitism, according to Alan Mindel, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Long Island.

“The next day, to not prosecute trespass, claiming a lack of evidence when the individuals were literally arrested in the location of their trespass, is on its face, ridiculous,” Mindel told those at the rally, who tended to sport American rather than Israeli flags.

Eden Yadegar, president of the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel, told those assembled that Bragg’s decision set “a strikingly dangerous precedent,” and he “has given a free pass to those who violently and systematically bring chaos to our streets and our campus under the cover of a mask.”

The same group that occupied the Columbia building has vowed to disrupt campus life at Columbia more, according to Yadegar.

“If we have learned anything from this past year of emboldened hatred and anarchy at Columbia and worldwide, it is to believe our adversaries when they threaten violence,” Yadegar said.

The group is committed to violence “explicitly,” she said.

According to Yadegar, Bragg doesn’t “even need to read in between the lines. Just read them.”

Michelle Ahdoot, director of strategy and programming at End Jew Hatred, told attendees that there is a connection between Bragg’s “failure to impose consequences on these criminals” and the attacks against Jews outside a Los Angeles synagogue on Sunday (see story at bottom of page 1).

Hamas supporters are fueled by the feeling that there is no accountability for their actions, she said.

If Bragg “refuses to prosecute, for whatever reason,” End Jew Hatred will ask the US Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute in the Manhattan district attorney’s place, Ahdoot said.

“What Alvin Bragg is saying to all New Yorkers who follow the law is: ‘If you conceal your identity, if you harass Jews long enough, if you break property, if you take maintenance workers hostage — if you do that, you will not be prosecuted’,” said Shabbos (“Alexander”) Kestenbaum, a Harvard University graduate student and activist.

“That is un-American. That is antisemitic,” Kestenbaum said.

Bragg’s tenure as Manhattan district attorney started out controversially when he instructed prosecutors to pursue jail time for only the most serious of crimes.

He has been rebuked for offering lenient plea deals to defendants accused of attacking Jews, only to reverse course under public pressure. He has also faced criticism for his prosecuting of former president Donald Trump.