By COLlive reporter
The Movement To Protect The People (MTOPP), a Brooklyn-based local activist group led by Alicia Boyd, is being denounced for using coded anti-Semitic symbols in its battle against developers.
An email sent by the group on Thursday, September 5, 2019, accuses both real estate developers, community leaders and elected officials of “Shady Business Deals” and “Shell Games.”
Boyd’s group is opposing the plan for 18 lots to be rezoned along the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) on Washington Avenue between Crown Heights and Park Slope for development.
The email went on to claim that “Community Board 9 (“CB”) run by Rabbi Goldstein and his crew, requested a rezoning of the entire Community Board including land along the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”
She was referring to Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, an army chaplain who served at Ground Zero on 9/11 and served for 34 years in the volunteer position of the chairman of the Brooklyn Community Board 9 (CB9). It isn’t clear who Boyd was referencing as “his crew.”
Boyd’s email went on to provide a timeline of the transactions and placed a blue Star of David near the real estate corporations allegedly owned by Jews: Carroll Development Plaza LLC, 931 Carroll LLC, CP VI Crown Heights LLC, and Cornell Crow LLC.
Contacted by COLlive.com, both Jewish and black community activists who have seen the email from Boyd expressed their concern and dismay over the language and the symbolism.
“For many years, members of the African American and Jewish Community have worked closely to stomp out hate and antisemitism within our community,” said Geoffrey Davis, Democratic District Leader for the 43rd Assembly District. “I denounce all hate messages whether openly or subliminal. I ask that Ms. Boyd address her intentions publicly and apologize.”
Devorah Halberstam, prominent community activist and co-founder of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, stated: “This goes back to the age-old anti-semitic conspiracy trope of Jewish land-owners that never goes away.”
“When noisemakers in our community present a case that has nothing to do with Jews but rather about business as usual in a city that never sleeps it gives a message to the community that is completely false,” Halberstam said. “It is a shame that all the years that I have experienced living in my neighborhood side by side with whomever my neighbors are should peel away at the structure and lifeblood of Crown Heights.
“I am disgusted and appalled and actually shocked that there is no shame attached to this. Clearly, the underlying objective in this is nothing but clear anti-semitism disguised as community interest. This clarifies why the uptick in Antisemitism in Crown Heights. To undo the implications of this is much more difficult than just calling it out, it means we have to go back to the drawing board and reclaim our respect and understanding for each other.”
Jewish Community activist Yaacov Behrman of the Jewish Future Alliance said he was particularly concerned of such anti-Jewish messages in a time of rising violent attacks against Jewish people in Brooklyn.
“Jews are being beaten bloody in the street of Brooklyn,” Behrman said. “These attacks are a result of the lie being spread that the Jewish community is responsible for the gentrification and displacement. This is the very definition of anti-Semitism. Gentrification is about economics, not a race.
Behrman said Boyd’s email “feeds into that false narrative. What is the purpose of the blue star? I see no other reason to use a blue star other than to send a coded message that the developers are Jewish. Such imagery directly contributes to violence against Jews.”