Dec 26, 2019
The NYPD said they are looking into at least three incidents of possible hate-based attacks against Jewish people over the past three days — and all happening during Hanukkah and on Christmas.
The most recent confirmed attack happened in the early morning hours on Tuesday on Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights, when a 25-year-old Jewish man was walking on the sidewalk when he saw a large group of people walking toward him, police said.
That man told police that members of the group yelled “f—k you Jew” before hurling a Slurpie at him. The group can be heard laughing and one appears to be filming the incident as they quickly flee shortly after.
About 15 hours later, a man in his 50s was standing in front of a building on Union Avenue in the same neighborhood when he said he saw as many as six people approach him after 5 p.m. on December 24, according to police.
One of the people who came up to the man punched him in the back of the head, and the group took off.
Police said there was an additional assault in Borough Park around 1 a.m. Christmas morning. A 40-year-old man was on 13th Avenue when he was punched in the face by a suspect who immediately fled in the direction of 43rd Street.
Cops in that case however said the incident is not yet being investigated as a biased attack.
The first attack occurred in the morning of December 23 on the Upper East Side, according to the NYPD. A 65-year-old man was hit in the face with a closed fist after the suspect made an anti-Semitic remark, then was kicked while on the ground. The victim suffered cuts to his face and hand, police said.
Steven Jorge, of Miami, Florida, was later arrested and charged in the beating. The 28-year-old was charged with assault as a hate crime. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the victim had been wearing a black yarmulke and checking his cellphone when the attack happened.
“The attacks against Jews are out of control, and we must have a concrete strategy to address the rise of these attacks,” said Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism. “What is happening in New York City with attacks against Jews has created a deep and growing concern in our community.”
The attacks come less than two weeks after a deadly shooting rampage at a New Jersey kosher market that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement. The gunbattle and standoff in Jersey City left six people dead – the two killers, a police officer and three people who had been inside the market.
The spate of attacks captured the attention of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, with both condemning the actions.
“This horrific and cowardly act of antisemitism is repugnant to our values, and it’s even more despicable that it occurred over the holidays,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We have absolutely zero tolerance for bigotry and hate, and we will continue to call it out whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.”
The mayor echoed those sentiments, saying that it is “not enough to condemn anti-Semitism — we have to confront it,” in a tweet Christmas night.
“The despicable crimes committed against our Jewish community over the last 24 hours are an attack on ALL New Yorkers,” de Blasio added.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday offered a $10,000 reward for information regarding the attacks.
“We are appalled at the sheer frequency and aggressive nature of these incidents,” Evan Bernstein, the group’s regional director in New York and New Jersey, said in a news release. “They’re made particularly heinous by the fact they are occurring during a time when society is supposed to come together in peace for the holidays, and as the Jewish community is particularly on edge as it’s reeling from the deadly attack in Jersey City on Dec. 10.”