Amid COVID Tensions in NYC, a Nasty Jewish Insult

Jewish reporter called a 'moser,' or informer on fellow Jews, before crowd goes after him
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2020 8:33 AM CDT
Amid COVID Tensions in NYC, a Nasty Jewish Insult
Heshy Tischler, a City Council candidate and activist in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park, walks out of Kings County Criminal Court after his arraignment Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in New York.   (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

(Newser) – Tensions are high this week in New York City's Orthodox Jewish community over the arrest of a high-profile radio host, anti-lockdown activist, and City Council candidate named Heshy Tischler. He is charged with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment after a crowd of his supporters went after a journalist. Coverage:

  • The background: Tischler has long been chafing against city and state officials for coronavirus restrictions in his neighborhood of Borough Park. A profile at New York says he reached "folk-hero status" in June when he showed up at a playground with bolt cutters and cut the chains, a move that drew national attention. "It's all part of the Heshy show," per the profile, referring to his ubiquitous social media posts and videos.
  • The incident: Last week, simmering tensions over newly tightened COVID restrictions boiled over. Here is how NPR describes the scene at an Oct. 7 protest led by Tischler, based on video posted to social media: "A maskless Tischler and others are seen encircling and screaming at Jacob Kornbluh, a journalist for Jewish Insider who has reported on the resistance to the COVID-19 restrictions."

  • The journalist: Kornbluh tweeted that Tischler "recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street," adding that he was kicked, punched, and "brutally assaulted." A man involved in the beating confirms to Gothamist: "Yeah he got beat up," he says. "He's lucky to be alive."
  • The insult: Tischler and others yelled "moser" at Kornbluh, referring to a Jewish person who informs on fellow Jews. Tischler hasn't liked the journalist's critical reporting of the anti-lockdown movement. The account by New York: "When Kornbluh showed up to Wednesday night’s protest, Tischler cornered him against a brick wall, summoning a large crowd to surround him. 'You’re a moser,' Tischler screamed in Kornbluh’s face. 'Everybody scream moser!'"
  • Arrest: Tischler was arrested Sunday night, and a post from his Twitter account quickly made public Kornbluh's address, per Gothamist. Hundreds showed up there, as seen in this video. Tischler was arraigned on Monday. “We are going to continue our fight. We are going to beat Mayor (Bill) de Blasio. We’re going to knock that (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo out, right?” he told supporters outside the court building, per CBS New York.
  • What Cuomo says: The governor says he is not targeting Orthodox Jews but merely putting restrictions in places that show clusters of cases. “I understand the cultural differences and the religious differences, but I also understand death is death."
  • As a candidate: Tischler, a staunch supporter of President Trump, is a longshot candidate for City Council. He received 670 votes out of 17,000 in a run three years ago, per New York. But he suddenly has a much bigger profile. "I wouldn't say he has a shot," Kornbluh told the magazine. "But Trump also didn't have a shot."
(Read more Orthodox Jews stories.)

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