Bill de Blasio
Bill de Blasio Reuters

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) criticized New York Mayor Bill de Blasio after he stated that he was issuing a Cease and Desist order against a local yeshiva for conducting classes during the coronavirus crisis.

"Earlier today the NYPD shut down a Yeshiva conducting classes with as many as 70 children. I can’t stress how dangerous this is for our young people. We’re issuing a Cease and Desist Order and will make sure we keep our communities and our kids safe," de Blasio wrote on his Twitter account.

Cruz wrote in response: "The next time NYC's mayor sends out a gleeful tweet about sending cops after Jews, the DOJ should investigate to make sure he's not violating constitutionally guaranteed religious liberties. Actually, they should have done it after the last one."

Last month, de Blasio posted a controversial tweet addressed to the Jewish community of New York after a funeral in the Jewish community drew larger crowds than police had prepared for.

De Blasio condemned what he called the community's "unacceptable behavior," writing, "My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed."

"I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.

"We have lost so many these last two months + I understand the instinct to gather to mourn. But large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning. We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance."

The mayor's remarks drew condemnation for singling out Jews as well as blaming the entire Jewish community for the actions of a few.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted: "Hey NYC Mayor, there are 1mil+ Jewish people in NYC. The few who don’t social distance should be called out — but generalizing against the whole population is outrageous especially when so many are scapegoating Jews. This erodes the very unity our city needs now more than ever."

Senator Cruz said at the time: "Would DeBlasio have sent this identical tweet with the word “Jewish” replaced by any other religious minority? If not, why not? Laws should be enforced neutrally w/o targeting religious faith."

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