Apr 16, 2018
Smearing Unfairly is Also Wrong

Crown Heights activist Yaacov Behrman responds to Barry Sugar slamming his support for Assemblywoman Diana Richardson.

Yaacov Behrman, founder of the Jewish Future Alliance and a Jewish community activist in Crown Heights, responds to the op-ed by Barry Sugar slamming his support for New York Diana Richardson:

A recent op-ed on COLlive.com gave a very harsh assessment of comments allegedly made by Assemblywoman Diana Richardson at the April 2 meeting of Community Board 17.

I strongly agree with the author that we have a duty to speak out when an elected official says something offensive or anti-semitic.

I'm a regular attendee of Community Board 9's Land Use Committee meetings, where gentrification is the most sensitive and hotly debated issue. I almost always have the burden of defending the Jewish community from accusations that we benefit from gentrification, often in front of very hostile crowds.

I'm almost always the only Orthodox Jew in the room (I have never seen the op-ed's author in attendance). Also, I have a long-standing dialog with Assemblymember Richardson and have spoken with her about affordable housing in Crown Heights on multiple occasions.

Interestingly, the op-ed's only source of information is the New York Post, a newspaper that thrives on sensationalism (remember the Menachem Stark murder headline, "Who DIDN'T want him dead?"). Therefore, I'm compelled to set the record straight with facts, so that we don't wind up getting excited over knee-jerk reactions to hearsay and shoddy, sensationalist reporting.

I was aware of the alleged statement long before the Post ran its story and did, in fact, confront her about her alleged comments and expressed my outrage at the "Jews benefit from gentrification" diatribe.

She denied making the comments immediately and agreed that such viewpoints are unacceptable. She offered to provide someone who could verify this version of the events, which she did. All of this took place before the Post ran its story.

Bafflingly, the op-ed also claims that Assemblywoman Richardson has never been made aware of the harm that gentrification has wreaked upon the Jewish community.

This is almost funny since a little over one year ago I and 20 other members of the Jewish community sat with her to discuss our concerns about this very subject. At that time, she publicly affirmed that gentrification was about economics and not race, and expressed her commitment to promoting affordable housing for the Jewish community. The author wouldn't know since he didn't attend this community meeting either.

So, I agree that we have an obligation to hold our public officials to account should they express offensive views. It's also our obligation to speak up when someone is getting unfairly smeared.

Diana Richardson has thus far been a friend to Crown Heights community and we'd be much better off leaving behind the sensationalist mudslinging and getting more involved with community affairs instead.

At least the New York Post made an effort to reach out Assemblywoman Richardson before running their story, a courtesy the op-ed's author did not extend to me.

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Why donít you sit down with Berel and the assemblywomen Richardson? Berel is very pragmatic!
(4/16/2018 5:44:44 PM)
C.H. residents: before you start complaining about anything!
Do you vote in elections?
If not, you don't care about who represents us, so keep quiet and don't complain. Look in the mirror and blame yourself if something upsets you!
(4/16/2018 5:47:00 PM)
Are you saying?
Are you saying that Lew Fidler who works for Eric Adams is a lier. He said that he heard her say it!!!???
(4/16/2018 6:04:46 PM)
Yaacov, please
He is entitled to have an opinion and a leadership position. Attending meetings is not a prerequisite to analyze the situation and offer his opinion. The fact that she was exposed by the NY Post for her alleged remarks and waited a week to deny it reeks of shtikah kehodaah. Once she had her back to the wall, she denied it hoping there isnít a tape. Even if there was, she would still be a shoe-in for her current position and only consequense would be that she wouldnít be able to climb the ladder in citywide race. Letís be honest, youíre just one man with an opion (as am I, as is Berel). You do some great things but you also act as a shield for politicians when they often donít deserve it (your right of course).
(4/16/2018 6:18:32 PM)
There is a boss
Yackov deserves a lot of credit for all he does for the community.

He is one of the few who never scares away from pointing out a local politician's flaws regardless if it's politically current, if Yackov says berel is mistaken i believe him.

And yes berel is one of the good guys but even good guys are not always correct
(4/16/2018 6:19:10 PM)
#2 Just to clarify who it's directed at
Comment #2 ("C.H residents") is directed at everyone in CH, not at any of the article writers.
(4/16/2018 6:35:52 PM)
Yaakov, I read berel's letter and your response, what seems questionable to me are two things 1. Why would a representative from eric adam's office make this up? 2. Why would you trust a witness brought forward by richardson rather then an independent person who was not approached by richardson and was in attendants at the meeting in question. Lastly, I am sure there were several people at the meeting in question that can verify who said what.
(4/16/2018 6:39:12 PM)
Thats what Im talking about
Being that we live in a very diverse community, if we have a disagreement, it behooves us to do exactly this. Sit down and TALK. If the Rebbe were alive today, I am sure this would be his approach. Thank you Yaacov and those around the table, for taking the high road and working to build bridges rather that foment dissension. Many will disagree but this approach because they do not understand the importance of working together and it is much harder than simply throwing stones, lables and discounting.. But this is the only approach. We can agree to disagree, but there must be some derech eretz. with the goal to bring Shalom among our neighbors. Again, I am sure this is what the Rebbe would want.
(4/16/2018 6:48:27 PM)
BS"D Yaakov did not say she did not say it but that he confronted her and challenged her remarks
(4/16/2018 6:57:54 PM)
Here here # 5
Agree! Thank you Yaakov Behrman for getting involved for the betterment of our community and really caring!
(4/16/2018 7:38:16 PM)
Yaakov Berman
Nice boy but who elected him to get involved on behalf of the community. ??
(4/16/2018 7:42:52 PM)
Who are these people, and who authorises them to speak in our name either for or against any polititian?
(4/16/2018 7:43:39 PM)
Didnít she realize that it would come out. Reminds me of Jesse Jackson and his Hymietown remark.
(4/16/2018 7:48:01 PM)
Time for chjcc
Time for elections in crowns heights Jewish community and implement term limits we need fresh honest blood
Time to wake up and smell the coffee
(4/16/2018 8:07:58 PM)
Barry sugar
One thing I can tell you about Barry sugar he dosent hide behind the curtain he stands up for the community there's no politics for him and no gain
(4/16/2018 8:08:32 PM)
BS"D If your knocking Yaakov # 11 then the same complaint should be served on B Sugar
(4/16/2018 8:09:06 PM)
Let it go
She said she didnít say it so let it go. Nothing to be gained by this. Thanks Yaakov for following up and letís all work together
(4/16/2018 8:16:44 PM)
To #16
I believe Berel was elected to the vaad hakahol and CHJCC couple years ago
(4/16/2018 8:47:54 PM)
Yaacov Yudewitz - The Double Y
NYS Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, like City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (knock-out attacks apologist), are low-skilled puppets of the Democratic Party, who will not bite the hand that feeds them.

When I hear Jews defending politicians for making anti-Jewish comments, I ask, who is feeding these Jews?

Sept 09, 2017 Democratic Primary Results
Winner Laurie Cumbo - 10,421 votes
Loser - Edie Fox - 7549
Difference - 2872 votes

If 8000 Jews BLOCK voted in the democratic primary and acted in the community's interest rather than their own, you would get more funds for yeshivas, more cops on the street, surveillance cameras and maybe affordable housing for large families.

And not to leave anyone out, NYS Sen Jessie Hamilton's Raise the Age Law (raising age of criminal responsibility to 18 for all but a certain list of crimes), allows 16 and 17 year olds who knock out Jews to go to family court and get released instead of being charged with hate crimes.

(4/16/2018 9:22:28 PM)
diana richardson
There was an article in the jewish press saying that she asked for all digital recorders be turned off when she spoke. She does not deny that she said what was reported. She said by any chance or for any reason something i relayed was misconstrued i apologize. She continues with we are all human beings and at the end of the day we all bleed red.
This doesnt sound like a denial from her. Shes giving an excuse for saying what she truly believes.
(4/16/2018 10:34:54 PM)
Forget the NY Post
Just ask Lew Fidler directly and get to the bottom of this
(4/16/2018 10:52:48 PM)
to 18 and 20.
1. Berel Suger is not and never was a member of the CHJCC. 2. Berel Suger had a moral duty to call Yaakov before writing his oped to hear his side of the story. This is basic journalistic integrity.
3. A young black male was shot by police, and died, the same day the NY POST article came out. The assemblywoman did not clarify immediately because was busy dealing with a crisis that could have exploded into violent riots.
(4/16/2018 11:00:48 PM)
common needs.
I sometimes wonder if anyone from outside of anash accurately understands our mindset. the c.h. Jewish community has worked hard for decades to keep crown heights a stable neighborhood. we tried our best to keep housing available and affordable. if diane richardson made the remark she is said to have made she needs to be set straight. she's talking to the wrong group of people when she accuses "Jews" of gentrifying the neighborhood, rendering it unaffordable. the average c.h. Jewish family is no less negatively affected by gentrification than the average c.h. black family, perhaps even more affected.
frankly, I wouldn't waste brain power figuring out if ms. richardson did or didn't make the remark. I care more that she seems not to get the situation accurately. who would be fool enough to think that the c.h. Jewish community would do this to themselves? that's the main point that needs to be made clear to her and to others that think like her. Beyond that what we/they think or feel is each group's own business. There are enough needs that both groups share in common to keep us working together without making snide remarks about each other or flying off the handle. Best to concentrate on what we can do together to keep the neighborhood safe and accessible for everyone living here than to waste energy judging each other's love of humanity.
(4/17/2018 1:33:56 AM)
To #22
A. According to Yakov, he heard abt the comments (from whom?) Prior to the post story and got a response.
B.she inially gave a non apology, apologizing if anyone was offended
C. Stop referencing just the post and ask Lew fidler to clarify if you have an issue
D. Everyone seems to agree the statements were said, and yet no one at the time said anything. So who did make the comments?
(4/17/2018 7:18:08 AM)
My opinion
Berel sugar worked tirelessly 20 years ago to improve CH. I know, I was a minor part of it. I was at meetings with him when he confronted - without mincing words & playing politics- police, local officials & others. Yet he NEVER was rude, offensive or said anything that wasn't true. The pols & police were shocked because everyone else pandered to them & blah blah blahed & never held their feet to the fire. Berel did.

I don't know too much about Mr. Behrman, except he sort of thrust himself into the limelight, sort of creating a job for himself. That's a smart move. But I do know Berel Sugar is no liar, & it's a shame he isn't involved much in community affairs any more.
(4/17/2018 7:46:29 AM)
Double Y
@#20. - Fitst, both Mr. Sugar and Mr. Behrman should be appreciated for the work they do for the community.
However, Mr.Sugar does not need permission from a third party who says she didn't say it. There is no journalistic duty or moral duty to inquire.into hearsay statements. The chairman of Community Board 17, Barrington Benmet, regretted and admitted turning off the recording device at Ms. Richardson's request. Jews who defend politicians should acknowledge their conflict of interest if their business involves govt funding, directly or indirectly. The CHJCC gets govt funds. Berel is the most independent from govt.
(4/17/2018 8:58:56 AM)
So where is the affordable housing?And on what airspace is it going to be built on
(4/17/2018 11:19:37 AM)
Community Advocate /Kings County District Leader
Whether she said it or not is not the issue. Is it true, and why did she feel compelled to make such a comment, if true?
(4/17/2018 11:37:58 AM)
The Assembly Member is lying
Lew Fidler heard correctly what Assembly Member Diana Richardson said. No amount of poor me, face saving will do. She made her crony Chairman turn off the mike, because she taught that what she said would not come out. Apparently there are phone recordings that will soon be surfacing.
Ms. Richardson make those statement, but never saw Mr. Fidler there, so for her to run to Yaccov, and think that this will cover her warts, the answer is no.
What this sanctimonious person needs to do is to stop blaming everyone else, but herself. Look in the mirror, every time she gets involved in this type of publicity, she blames everyone, but herself.
Where are her political backers on this latest episode of her's? None will come to her side, for they are all tired of her and her behavior. Notably absent is Yvette or Una Clarke. Why? They too have given up on her and her belligerent way of treating people.
Last but not least, Mr. Fidler is not a liar and has an impeccable reputation. So before Yaccov, accept your crocodile tears, he should go speak to Mr. Fidler.
(4/17/2018 12:05:12 PM)
Interpreting Comment 28's Implication
Don't you love it how politicians talk in questions through implication like commenter #28. Let's say there was a public meeting and a CH resident said "I am tired of these criminals stealing my delivery packages from my porch." Would Diana Richardson have said that the thieves are probably black. Even if in most cases it was true, the problem or causal element is not the race or the religion, it's the action and in volatile neighborhoods race or religious stereotyping by public officials is not helpful. It is not a crime to develop real estate. In fact, most homeowners love the fact they can sell their homes for a fortune and retire and let their families inherit the rest.
(4/17/2018 12:30:31 PM)
It's hilarious how two unelected, self-appointed, individuals spar with each other.

I don't recall either of them being elected, or even running for office. Am I missing something?
(4/17/2018 1:39:49 PM)
Accept reality
With friends like this,
who needs enemies.
Fact, the Mike was " hot".
Fact, the audio recording of the proceedings is missing a large chunk.
How convenient.
Tampering with the evidence ? Ooоps!

(4/17/2018 2:22:57 PM)
Unfortunately, it was Jewish R.E. agents that convinced homeowners that they, the homeowners, can get so much more when selling their houses than they were getting. Now, those that bought these houses at such rediculous prices, have to charge rediculous rents so they can afford their rediculous mortgages. And let's not forget how much renovations affect the rent!! I'm afraid we're half guilty. The Goyim only started asking for more when they saw that we're getting it.
(4/17/2018 11:34:58 PM)
No One Sells/Leases For a DIscount
@ # 33 - Supply and Demand

A seller will ask for the most he can get and the market will respond. So whether its a sales price, or a rent price, no one will offer a discount, even if they purchased it for less, unless there is some other reason.
(4/18/2018 5:27:27 PM)
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