(April 4, 2022 / JNS) Jewish New Yorkers are demanding action after two anti-Semitic acts occurred this past weekend, one caught on video and the other involving an attempted attack with weapons on six teenage boys.
“We are horrified once again by a targeted anti-Semitic attack against those in traditional Jewish clothing,” Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, director of government relations for the Agudath Israel of America, told JNS. “The fact that such attacks have become almost routine and expected is sad. The time for words has long passed; concrete action needs to be taken.”
In the first incident, a Chassidic man who was walking in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y.—home to the Satmar community—was beaten by a gang of men. The attack was caught on camera and went viral.
According to the New York City Police Department, without any “prior words or provocation, the individuals punched and kicked the Chassidic victim about the body, forcing him to the ground.”
The second incident occurred on Saturday evening on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
According to the NYPD, six teens between the ages of 12 and 16 were approached by three male teens, who “stated that they wanted to fight them and that because they were Jewish, they wanted to get them.”
“The suspects brandished a knife, crow bar and a sword, and followed them towards their residence before fleeing,” said a spokeswoman for the NYPD. “There were no reported injuries as a result of this incident. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was notified and is investigating.”
In a tweet, city councilwoman Gale Brewer of the Upper West Side called the incident a “horrible anti-Semitic attack targeting eighth- and ninth-grade boys. Yes, on children. NYPD responded, and we followed up … . Anti-Semitism is abhorrent and an attack on us all.”
Gideon Taylor, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council-New York, told JNS “though we are horrified, we are sadly not surprised by this past weekend’s string of anti-Semitic hate crimes across Brooklyn and the Upper West Side. While we are deeply grateful to the NYPD for their outstanding efforts in apprehending the attackers, anti-Semitic hate crimes are still up over 400 percent from last year with 86 different incidents occurring so far in 2022.”
The Anti-Defamation League is offering a reward of up to $10,000for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailants in the Williamsburg attack. The New York City Police Department’s Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $3,500.
“We are shocked by the viciousness of the images of this incident that has been distributed over social media and other means,” said regional director of the ADL NY-NJ Scott Richman on social media of Friday-evening’s attack. “Nobody should be subjected to hateful violence on the streets of New York.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke out about the Friday-night attack, saying, “I’m outraged by this act of violence against a Jewish New Yorker. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. I am directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the investigation in any way possible.”
It is a refrain that has been repeated numerous times in recent months as visibly dressed Jewish men in the borough of Brooklyn have been the target of Friday-night assaults. Several other incidents have targeted children and women.
“We cannot ask the most vulnerable among us to take on the burden of being our strongest. The Jewish community is as resilient as we are varied, but we need more,” said Taylor. “We need a more visible police presence in our most at-risk neighborhoods; we need to build stronger educational frameworks and closer relationships with those in the broader community; and we need to make sure that everyone in New York can live together in safety and harmony, regardless of what they look like.”
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