Amid Surge In Antisemitic Protests, Jewish Leaders Demand Return Of Anti-Mask Law

Jewish leaders in New York City are calling for the reinstatement of an anti-mask law to combat the growing number of protests, many of which involve participants hiding their identities behind masks, according to a report by the New York Post on Wednesday. The law, once used to fight against the Ku Klux Klan, could potentially discourage protesters from engaging in unlawful behavior while concealing their identities.

The demand for action follows a series of disturbing incidents, including one on Monday where masked protesters took over a New York City subway train, demanding that “Zionists” identify themselves and warning them to leave. Earlier that day, at Union Square, protesters with covered faces displayed a banner referencing recent violent events.

Scott Richman, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, supported the return of the anti-mask law, stating, “A mask law will make a difference. It effectively tanked the Ku Klux Klan. Nobody wanted their face to be seen.”

New York’s anti-mask law, which had been in place for nearly two centuries, was repealed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recent surge in antisemitic hate crimes, with a 150% increase in May compared to the same month last year, has prompted calls for its reinstatement. According to NYPD statistics, 173 anti-Jewish hate crimes have been recorded in 2024, compared to 101 for all of 2023.

Mark Treyger, head of the Jewish Community Relations Council, compared the current situation to the Nazi-era and called for comprehensive measures to combat rising antisemitism, stating, “We are experiencing and seeing the Nazi playbook come to life in 2024.”

As the Jewish community faces escalating threats and hatred, leaders are demanding swift action to ensure their safety and well-being.