Nosey Jewish groups and yarmulke-wearing politicians are demanding the NYPD take action after looking into a Brooklyn man’s apartment and spotting a Swastika banner hanging from his wall.
Councilman Mark Treyger, a Ukrainian-Jew who represents South Brooklyn, requested a police investigation into the man engaging in First Amendment activity in his own home. The NYPD informed him that no crime was being committed, and in response, Treyger has decided to try and whip up hysteria in his community even after the man in the apartment in question acquiesced to his demands to take the flag down.
Treyger’s response is one of many instances of the First Amendment being rapidly whittled down in American life, particularly in New York.
Last month New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law banning the display or sale of Confederate flags, Swastikas and “other symbols of hate” on public property. In practice, this means a protest group cannot legally display these symbols nor can they be sold by street vendors. Under the poorly thought out piece of legislation, no exemptions are made for an individual wearing a t-shirt with a Confederate flag or Swastika walking on the streets of New York, who in theory could potentially be charged with a crime.
Governor Cuomo and others admit that the ban is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, but don’t seem to care. The transition of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) into an exclusively left-wing activist organization that will not defend the rights of political dissidents has created a legal vacuum that NGOs, Jewish activists and politicians have capitalized on to shut down free speech.
The Supreme Court ruling in Smith v. Collin (1978) makes it clear that Americans have a right to display flags and engage in political speech even when the content offends Jews.
The lack of respect for American values in the name of protecting feelings also goes one way. The Israeli flag is seen as a symbol of hate, racism and genocide by numerous classes of people, yet the right to display it is not being questioned. Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys was arrested in Washington DC earlier today over a previous incident where a group of men expressed their offense over a flag representing the highly polarizing Black Lives Matter movement.
Ultimately, without a new legal organization that fights in the courts to consistently defend political and artistic speech, the government is free to push through hate speech legislation, unimpeded.