The war on statues continues to expand its scope, and now a New York statue of Peter Stuyvesant is the target of ire, following a call for the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus.
After Mayor Bill DeBlasio said he would erase all ‘symbols of hate’ in the city a Jewish activist group is calling for the removal of the Peter Stuyvesant statue in Manhattan and all traces of the Dutch governor and director general of the colony of New Netherland, which would later be named New York by the English.
‘Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam,’ said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center told the New York Post.
Mayor Bill deBlasio’s assertion that he would remove all ‘symbols of hate’ has provoked an avalanche of attacks on historical monuments in New York
‘New York, of all American cities, which boasts such important Jewish history and claims such a present day vibrant Jewish community, should take the lead in denouncing Stuyvesant’s bigotry.’
As a prominent New York historical figure, removing traces of Stuyvesant could prove a daunting task.
Then there’s Stuyvesant High School, the most prestigious of the public schools, which arguably accepts only the brightest students in the city.
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Then there is the issue of the entire Brooklyn neighborhood called Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The statue of the man himself sits in Stuyvesant Town, a large cluster of private residential buildings that some would consider a New York neighborhood unto itself.
According to the New York Post, Stuyvesant, who had previously fount to allow the Jewish people who he described as ‘deceitful,’ ‘very repugnant’ and ‘blasphemous’ to settle after orders from the Dutch West India Company.
Darshan-Leitner suggests a name swap, replacing the name of Stuyvesant with that of Asher Levy, one of the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is weighing decision on whether to remove statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus
A spokesman for the New Netherlands Institute, says the idea is ‘ridiculous’ and argues the ‘treasonous’ Confederates being taken down is entirely different.
‘This was about customs in the 17th century,’ said the spokesman, arguing that Stuyvesant opposed any religion outside of his own church to maintain social cohesion and due to ignorant ideas about disease,’ the spokesman told the Post.
‘They should talk about the history, but not start removing statues.’
Meanwhile a contentious debate about a very large and very old statue of Itlain explorer Christopher Columbus, could be removed under the Mayor’s ‘symbols of hate’ idea.
Mayor de Blasio is reportedly considering the move, according to CBS News, after ordering a review in the wake of the deadly events in Charlotesville, Virginia earlier this month.
The statue, which is over 100 years old, sits atop is a traffic circle in Manhattan, located at the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park West and Central Park South.
The statue, which is over 100 years old, is a controversial for some who say the man who is credited with discovering the new world was an active participant in the slave trade
The review, ordered by de Blasio who is running for re-election as a Democrat this November, is part of an effort to remove ‘symbols of hate.’
‘We have to look at everything here,’ de Blasio said during Democratic a mayor debate held Wednesday evening.
Democratic City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito echoed the mayor’s stance, saying the memorial celebrates a disputable historical figure.
‘I will wait for the commission, as I said Christopher Columbus is a controversial figure to many of us particularly in the Caribbean and I think that that has to be looked at, when you have to look at history we have to look at it thoroughly and clearly,’ CBS reported her as saying Monday.
Columbus has been hailed in American-lore as discovering the new world on his expedition in 1492 on behalf on the Spanish empire. But critics note his cruel treatment of the native inhabitants of the Caribbean and South America and his active participation in the slave trade.
The statue was offered as a gift to New York by the city’s Italian community in 1892, and groups such as the NYPD Columbia Association, which includes thousands of Italian American police officers, are fighting to keep the statue in place.
The mayor’s Republican opponent, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, also says the statue should stay put.
‘Even Christopher Columbus, the founder of our nation, is under attack,’ Malliotakis said Wednesday, later clarifying that she misspoke in calling Columbus the founder of the US.