Law enforcement has charged Bechir Lehbeib, 26, with a hate crime after he allegedly took an “In This Home We Stand With Israel” banner from a house in Long Beach, N.Y., and then assaulted the owner who ran after it.
Aleksandr Binyaminov, who is Jewish, saw Lehbeib steal the flag after his security system alerted him that someone was outside. He went after the man, a self-described Palestinian from North Africa.
Binyaminov said he confronted Lehbeib and demanded the return of the flag, resulting in the alleged thief “fighting with me and punching me in my face,” according to the New York Post. The assault was captured on video.
Binyaminov said Lehbeib “got me in a choke position, threw me on the floor and head-butted me,” causing bruising to the face.
Before fleeing, Lehbeib reportedly said, “I am Palestinian, and you Jews are killing Palestinians,” wrote the Post. After his arrest, he was said to have told police that he hated Israeli Jews and “if I see the flag of the people that killed my people, we will have a problem.”
Lehbeib has been charged with a hate crime, second-degree assault, robbery and criminal mischief.