The brother of Yankel Rosenbaum, the visiting Jewish scholar murdered in the 1991 Crown Heights riots, is decrying the participation of the Rev. Al Sharpton in a synagogue’s panel discussion on the event’s 20th anniversary.
Sharpton is scheduled to appear on a four-person panel titled “State of Black-Jewish Relations: Twenty Years after Crown Heights” Sunday event at the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, N.Y. The synagogue’s rabbi, Marc Schneier, is hosting the event and will be on the panel.
“Rabbi Marc Schneier should take a damn good, hard look at the videos of the riots over the three-day period, look at the media reports and he’ll see there clearly the role Al Sharpton played,” Norman Rosenbaum, Yankel’s brother, told reporters in New York on Wednesday, WINS-1010 reported.
The riots started after Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old black child, was struck and killed by a car in the motorcade of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Scheerson, in August 1991. Rosenbaum, who was visiting from Australia, was fatally stabbed later that night.
Sharpton was accused of fueling the three days of riots with his actions and remarks. He led a protest march of hundreds shouting “No justice, no peace” through the streets of Crown Heights to the Lubavitcher movement’s world headquarters.
After the riots had subsided, at Cato’s funeral, he referred to the neighborhood’s Chasidic Jews as “diamond merchants.”
Rosenbaum told the New York Post that Sharpton “did absolutely nothing then to improve black-Jewish relations—and nothing since.”
Former New York Times reporter Ari Goldman, who covered the riots, recently wrote a column in The New York Jewish Week saying that the Times framed the story as a racial conflict and failed to cover the anti-Semitic nature of the riots.