Dec 12, 2010
"Hate Blogs Are Killing Us"
The Rabbonim's letter was not about bochurim getting summons, rather about "hate blogs" spreading lies about a constant rift between the community and the police, Zaki Tamir tells COLlive.
"The hatred is getting out of hand," Zaki Tamir, Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, said Sunday in a candid and frank conversation with COLlive.com.
He said a "tremendous amount of hatred and animosity" is being caused by a few renegade "hate blogs which are destroying the people. It's killing us."
Voted in by a vast majority last year, Tamir said his administration is "unable to do our jobs as a community and representing a community" due to agenda-driven attacks.
His statements were given in response to misinformation surrounding a letter by Crown Heights Badatz members Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yaacov Schwei concerning community affairs.
COLlive.com was told that the letter was in the works for the past 3 weeks after one of the "hate blogs," as Tamir calls them, claimed there was a rift between the Crown Heights Hatzalah and the NYPD 71st Precinct.
Tamir and Eli Cohen, Executive director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, both noted that in the case of 3 bochurim getting summons for 'blocking pedestrian traffic', they actually helped them out with finding an attorney and pursuing justice.
They said the issue here was an ongoing beef between rival civilian patrol groups in the neighborhood - Shmira and Shomrim - that spilled into the public arena.
(Shmira works with the 71st Commanding Officer Peter Simonetti, while the Shomrim only enjoyed the same status under the former Commanding Officer Frank Vega.)
Tamir speculated why the Shomrim group, led by Aron Hershkop and his brothers, did not receive the community's support when they were prosecuted a year and a half ago.
But, he pointed out, the group is today using the same tactics that they denounced and suffered from in the past.
He said the police are feeling antagonized and intimidated from doing their jobs, also as a result of the lies and false articles written about them "for not following an agenda."
"It's an abuse for people to take private fights that can otherwise be resolved and turning them into a criminal or civil matter when the basis is hatred and disagreement," Tamir, a criminal defense lawyer, said.
He rhetorically asked why crime was up in the neighborhood when there are four organizations claiming to fight it: the NYPD, the C.O.P. - Civilian Observation Patrol, Shmira and Shomrim.
"If we're not able to see eye to eye, we will never find a resolution (to the crime)," Tamir said, pointing out that he created a security committee to deal with such matters, but the patrols have not joined.
There have been growing talks against the existence of two patrols, both privately created and run, members of which are speaking on behalf of the community while not being elected or asked to do so by the people.
Talks of uniting the groups have failed in the past.
VIDEO: Zaki Tamir and Eli Cohen speak