A Hasidic man was attacked with a piece of broken furniture and subjected to antisemitic insults in an apparently racially motivated assault in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant last Monday.
According to the New York Police Department, which tweeted a video of the incident on Friday, the victim, a “25-year-old male wearing traditional Jewish garb,” was accosted by an unknown assailant “who made anti-Jewish statements and assaulted” him in broad daylight and in front of at least one witness.
The video showed the suspect smashing a drawer from a dresser left on the curb against a building’s stoop and using one of the shattered pieces to attack the victim.
The New York Daily News reported that the suspect called the victim a “f***ing Jew” and demanded to know why he was “coming into my neighborhood.”
Democratic Mayoral candidate Eric Adams, who is running to replace outgoing Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio, called on anyone with information about the assault to contact the NYPD, adding that New York City “must do more to prevent these violent, antisemitic attacks against our Jewish neighbors.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted that he was “disgusted” to learn of another attack against the Jewish community and said that he had directed the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force “to offer assistance in the investigation.”
“This is antisemitism, plain and simple. It’s abhorrent and unacceptable, and these hateful acts have absolutely no place in New York,” he declared. “To the Jewish community of New York, we are with you. We will fight to ensure you can walk safely down the streets of our state anytime, anywhere. Hate will never win here.”
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This is the second time in recent months that Cuomo has publicly tasked state police to work on an antisemitism related issue. In late May, he directed the law enforcement agency to reinforce security at Jewish institutions in the New York City area following a spate of violent incidents targeting Jewish residents coinciding with the recent military confrontation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Following one incident, in which three men screaming “free Palestine, kill all the Jews” attempted to enter a Brooklyn synagogue, one orthodox state assemblyman told the New York Post that people were “literally afraid to walk the streets.”
According to the ADL’s Center on Extremism, antisemitic incidents in the United States “more than doubled during the May 2021 military conflict” before eventually returning to normal levels.
Last Wednesday, the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit announced that it had arrested Mohammed Othman, a 24-year-old resident of Staten Island, for his role in a May 20 attack in which he allegedly threw fireworks at a Jewish woman in midtown Manhattan, causing burns. The unit said in a tweet that he is being charged “for three separate anti-Semitic Hate Crime Assaults.”
Concern over antisemitism in the United States has grown significantly since Operation Guardian of the Walls, with 41 percent of American Jews indicating that they were “more concerned about their personal safety” than prior to the outbreak of hostilities, according to an ADL poll released last month.
Earlier this month, NYPD released new crime statistics indicating that hate crimes had jumped by 135 percent in 2021, with incidents against Jews rising by 61%.
In an interview with the Forward published on Friday, however, Deborah Lauter, Executive Director of the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, said that while the new figures “did raise eyebrows for my office as well,” what is “critically important to remember is that last year, the numbers were so low.”
“There was like a 37% decrease because of the pandemic. There just wasn’t as much social interaction,” she stated.
“I wanted to look more at longer term trends, so I pulled up the numbers for 2019. And in the same period of time through June 27, there were 123 antisemitic incidents, so the 113 that NYPD is reporting for the first half of the year, it’s actually an 8%, decrease over the 2019 numbers. So they’re probably a little bit more realistic in terms of what’s a typical year.”
Last January, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, some 25,000 people marched against antisemitism in New York in the wake of a wave of incidents targeting Jews in the area, including a stabbing attack in Monsey that injured five people, a shooting in a Kosher supermarket in Jersey City left three people dead, and dozens of incidents against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.