May 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Anti-Semitic attacks spark new NYPD patrols

Anti-Semitic hate crime recorded in New York

Attack on Jewish man in Times Square last week. Screenshot via CNN

The New York Police Department's Hate Crime Task Force launched an investigation into a pair of anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn on Saturday night, days after the NYPD said it would increase patrols in Jewish neighborhoods amid a rise in hate crimes.

Driving the news: The NYPD says 195 hate crimes were reported in New York City between Jan 1. and May 16, an increase of 71% from the same period last year. The true total is likely higher, since many incidents go unreported.

What's happening: Three suspects are wanted for harassing a group of Orthodox Jews outside of a synagogue in Borough Park and allegedly yelling, "Free Palestine — kill all the Jews,'' according to Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein.

  • The same group is suspected to have assaulted and yelled anti-Semitic language at two Jewish teenagers 45 minutes later, according to NBC New York.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met on Sunday with the NYPD and Jewish community leaders in Borough Park, a neighborhood with a large Orthodox Jewish community, to discuss strategies to combat hate crimes.

What they're saying: "The attacks we saw in Brooklyn last night were unconscionable. They were pure, unbridled anti-Semitism. And we do not need to look too far back in history to know what happens if we let that hatred go unchecked," de Blasio tweeted.

The big picture: Vandalism and harassment fueled by anti-Semitism and Islamophobia has been reported to law enforcement and shared across social media platforms throughout the U.S. and Europe, following two weeks of bombardments between the Israeli government and Hamas that ended in a ceasefire Friday.

  • Four people were arrested in the U.K. on Sunday for driving a convoy through an area of London with a large Jewish population and yelling violent anti-Semitic language. Videos of the incident went viral on social media last week and drew widespread shock and condemnation.
  • A 23-year-old man was arrested and charged with hate crime assault on Friday for using a crutch to attack a Jewish man in Times Square.
  • In Los Angeles last week, people in a convoy of cars flying Palestinian flags harassed and physically assaulted patrons sitting outside a restaurant. A witness told the Los Angeles Times: "They were chanting, 'Death to Jews' and 'Free Palestine.'"
  • In Chicago, a window at the Persian Hebrew Congregation was shattered and surveillance caught two people on camera, one carrying a "Freedom for Palestine" sign. Police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime and searching for the culprits.
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