Sonic Assault in the Southside—Primary Campaigners to W’burg Goyim: “Up Yours!”

2010 September 15
by Ando Arike

On Tuesday, September 14, the day of New York’s primary election, non-Yiddish- speaking Williamsburg residents in the blocks south of Broadway may have awoken with the strange feeling they were in Nazi Germany, when at least three sound-trucks circled the neighborhood from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., haranguing the neighborhood with a nonstop torrent of pre-recorded and eerily Hitleresque oratory from loudspeakers strapped to their roofs, amplified to ear-splitting volume.

Unfortunately, these propaganda tactics have become increasingly common in Williamsburg’s Southside, as Hasidic presence in the neighborhood has multiplied. During November 2009 elections, for instance, at least a half-dozen sound-trucks lay siege to the neighborhood, passing through streets every five minutes to bark out messages that rattled residents’ windows.

Campaign organizers, hoping to tap the unity and power of the massive Hasidic voting-bloc, seem oblivious to the irony of using tactics that smack of Nazi-style fascism.

And though one would think that using mobile high-volume amplification in this way is restricted by law, both police and Community Board 1 tell this reporter that it is protected speech under the First Amendment. “ACHTUNG!”

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