America is witnessing a worsening surge of anti-Semitic attacks as pro-Palestinian factions target Jews inspired by violence in the Middle East.
Although a ceasefire has called a halt to armed clashes for now, tensions between Israel and Hamas are over-spilling into the streets of towns and cities across the U.S.
The New York Police Department said 195 hate crimes were reported in NYC between January 1 and May 1, an increase of 71% from the same period last year.
Although the figures did not state how many of the incidents were anti-Semitic, the Anti-Defamation League has identified an increase in attacks against Jews specifically.
The charity received 193 reports of anti-Jewish incidents in the week after the Israel-Palestine crisis began, up from 131 the previous week.
In Los Angeles, volunteers have set up armed patrols to accompany Temple-goers, while LAPD has also stepped up its presence. Local man Steve Goldstein, 35, told the LA Times he had ‘never felt so scared being in Los Angeles’ after a series of high-profile attacks.
President Joe Biden criticized the wave of violence, tweeting Monday: ‘The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad – it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.’
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
A Jewish teenager was put in a chokehold after refusing to repeat anti-Semitic slurs and another chased with a baseball bat in one of two attacks against Jews in Brooklyn this weekend.
The boys, aged 17 and 18, were approached by two men at around 7.45pm on Saturday before they ‘demanded that the victims repeat anti-Jewish statements,’ according to NYPD.
When the teenagers refused, the attackers began punching them in the head and put the 17-year-old in a ‘rear chokehold’ before one of the thugs chased his companion while ‘brandishing a baseball bat’.
There were two anti-Jewish incidents in Brooklyn this weekend. This image is a still from surveillance camera footage of the second one, which saw three men shout at Jews walking by a synagogue
The perpetrators then fled the scene in Borough Park in a blue Toyota Camry, according to police.
Within the same hour and in the same area, three men in a car with the same description approached four Jews walking outside a synagogue and ‘yelled anti-Jewish statements’, police said.
When the four male victims fled into the synagogue, two of the three attackers jumped out the Toyota, banged on the front door of the building, and kicked the side mirror of a nearby car before fleeing.
The NYPD tweeted that the three males are wanted for aggravated harassment and said that officers have now stepped up their patrols in Jewish communities. NYPD believes both incidents involved the same perpetrators, reported CNN.
When the four male victims fled into the synagogue, two of the three attackers jumped out the Toyota, banged on the front door of the building, and kicked the side mirror of a nearby car before fleeing
The president on Monday called the recent string of attacks on Jews ‘despicable’ and said ‘it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor’
Mayor de Blasio met with Jewish leaders in Borough Park Sunday and said: ‘We will stomp out anti-Semitism anywhere we find it. It is unacceptable.
‘This is a city that is for everyone, and anybody who perpetrates an act of bias and prejudice, they will be found.’
It came after Jewish accountant Joseph Borgen, 29, was attacked by four men in Times Square when he was heading to a pro-Israel rally. He is believed to have been identified as Jewish by the kippah he was wearing at the time.
The NYPD tweeted that the three males are wanted for aggravated harassment (pictured is the synagogue)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Armed patrols have been set up to accompany Jews on the way to worship following a spike in anti-Semitic violence.
Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Remi Franklin, 37, said he established the ‘vigilance patrol’ in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles so families could walk the streets without fearing attack.
‘It’s Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, mixed martial arts, and just friends with them, it’s the people who want to do something,’ Franklin told the Los Angeles Times. ‘Women who are former dancers and gymnasts are walking with people to make them feel more comfortable.’
Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Remi Franklin, 37, said he established the ‘vigilance patrol’ in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles so families could walk the streets without fearing attack
Local Jews say the patrols are sadly necessary.
‘Many people are definitely scared,’ actor Jonathan Lipnicki, 30, said. ‘It’s a terrifying time for the Jewish community.’
‘These people are only here to enjoy their families, walk and go home. They need to ensure their safety.’
‘I’ve never been so scared of being in Los Angeles,’ 35-year-old Steve Goldstein said after people shouted ‘Jewish death’ at a synagogue off La Brea.
Franklin has shared photos of patrol members on his Instagram account. These men are seen standing outside a synagogue
Police have arrested a 30-year-old man after a group of Jewish diners were attacked while eating at a restaurant.
Xavier Pabon, of Banning, California, was arrested late Friday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Initial bail was set at $275,000, but Los Angeles Police Department said it had asked for enhanced bail ‘due to the crime being motivated by hatred.’
A car convoy flying Palestinian flags is pictured rolling through the Beverly Grove section of LA on Tuesday before some of the men attacked Jewish diners at a restaurant
The attackers were seen throwing glasses and yelling anti-Semitic slurs
Cops believe he was part of a group waving Palestine flags that pulled up at Sushi Fumi restaurant in the city’s bustling Beverly Grove neighbourhood at around 10pm Tuesday before shouting anti-Semitic abuse at Jewish customers and pelting them with bottles.
‘Somebody in one of the cars driving by started throwing glass bottles or glass cups at the tables and they shattered everywhere,’ a woman told CBSLA, adding that a group of about 30 charged the tables and began asking, ‘Who’s Jewish?’
A day before Orthodox Jews had to run for safety as they were chased down by two cars bearing Palestinian flags.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said the father-of-six – who is too scared to be publicly identified – ‘literally had to run for his life’.
In an earlier incident, on Monday night, a Jewish Orthodox man was chased by a pro-Palestinian convoy as he walked to a synagogue (pictured)
A New York man was charged Saturday with setting fire to a synagogue and Jewish school in Brooklyn earlier in the week.
Ali Alaheri, 29, is accused of torching the Jewish center near Borough Park at around 4am on Wednesday.
The building suffered some damage before firefighters put the fire out.
Federal prosecutors said Alaheri was seen on surveillance cameras ‘piling numerous garbage bags’ against the door before setting several of them on fire.
Ali Alaheri, 29, is accused of torching the Jewish center near Borough Park at around 4am on Wednesday
He was charged with one federal count of malicious arson on Saturday, according to a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
‘The defendant’s alleged actions endangered the lives of numerous individuals, from the congregants and students at the synagogue and yeshiva, to the first responders who arrived to extinguish the flames, to the neighboring members of the community,’ ATF Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito said in a press release.
Just hours before, Alaheri had attacked a man who appeared to be Jewish, it is claimed.
‘Alaheri can be seen on surveillance footage punching a Jewish man multiple times in the head with no provocation or prior interaction,’ a charging document alleges.
‘The man, who was sitting in front of an autobody shop on the same block as the [yeshiva and synagogue], was wearing traditional Hasidic clothing. After the assault, Alaheri can be seen jumping over a fence into an alleyway less than two blocks away from the [yeshiva and synagogue] and the assault.’
After that, officials say Alaheri stole a bicycle and rode away. He was arrested two days later.
HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA
A man yelled antisemitic remarks at a rabbi in front of a South Florida synagogue, before returning and dumping a bag of human feces in front of the building.
Cellphone video captured the unidentified man as he shouted ‘Jews should die’ at a rabbi outside the Chabad of South Broward on Friday.
The man left and returned a short time later, carrying a bag that contained human feces, said Hallandale Beach Police Capt. RaShana Dabney-Donovan.
Cellphone video captured the unidentified man as he shouted ‘Jews should die’ at a rabbi outside the Chabad of South Broward on Friday. The man left and returned a short time later, carrying a bag that contained human feces (he is pictured dropping it off)
The man then returned for a second time on Sunday with a cooler containing human excrement. He dropped it off before pedalling away on an electric bike
He dumped the bag in front of the synagogue and yelled, ‘Jews should die,’ according to a police report.
He also spat at a menorah near a sidewalk, according to the police.
The man then returned for a second time on Sunday with a cooler containing human excrement. He dropped it off before pedalling away on an electric bike, WSVN reported.
Cellphone video captured the unidentified man as he shouted ‘Jews should die’ at a rabbi outside the Chabad of South Broward on Friday
Earlier this month, a Hallandale Beach man reported having rocks thrown at him as he walked to the Chabad of South Broward.
‘It’s very important for us to combat these types of incidents,’ said Dabney-Donovan.
Times Square attack suspect: ‘I’d do it again’
A New Yorker who was part of a gang of four pro-Palestinian men that used his crutch to pummel a Kippa-wearing Jewish man on his way to a pro-Israel rally on Thursday has shown no remorse for the brutal beatdown, prosecutors said.
Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arrested for kicking, macing, and pummeling 29-year-old Joseph Borgen during the attack and was arraigned before Judge Kathryn Paek in Manhattan Criminal Court on Saturday.
Prosecutors said during the arraignment that Awawdeh confessed to battering the man to one of his jailers, the New York Post reported.
On Friday, the NYPD identified 23-year-old Waseem Awawdah as one of the suspects in the attack
‘If I could do it again, I would do it again. I have no problem doing it again,’ he allegedly said.
Victim Joseph Borgen, 29, an accountant, told DailyMail.com: ‘I turned around to try to figure out what was going on and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by a whole crowd of people who proceeded to physically attack me, beat me, kick me, punch me, hit me with crutches, hit me with flag poles.’
‘I don’t even want to look in the mirror,’ said Borgen, his face and body bruised, and head throbbing from a possible concussion.
Video of the assault showed Borgen was left defenseless on the ground as he was battered by the angry mob outside of 1604 Broadway.
‘After I wound up on the ground, I was literally just in a fetal position, trying to guard my head and face, literally just trying to make it out of their alive,’ Borgen said.
‘I thought I was going to die. I thought I was really going to die.’
Borgen said there were eight to 10 people taking part in the beatdown and they were shouting anti-Semitic slurs such as: ‘You filthy Jew. We’re going to f*****g kill you. Go back to Israel. Hamas is going to kill you.’
He said the most painful part occurred toward the end, when they pepper sprayed him.
‘I thought I was getting urinated on because I felt a stream on my face. ‘They maced me or pepper sprayed me for like a minute straight.’
Police released pictures of four suspects who allegedly beat Jewish man Joseph Borgen in Times Square. The third and fourth images from left appear to be the same person