New York Jewish Week via JTA – Two US women have been charged with hate crimes after allegedly attacking a passerby who confronted them while they were tearing down posters of Israeli hostages held by terrorists in Gaza.
The two suspects, Mehwish Omer and Stephanie Gonzalez, were removing the hostage posters from a street light on New York City’s Upper West Side shortly before 10 p.m. on November 9. A 41-year-old woman approached the two women, argued with them and recorded them on her cellphone, local police said.
Omer and Gonzalez allegedly assaulted the woman, ripping a Star of David necklace off her neck and knocking her phone to the ground, damaging the device.
The two women fled the scene, leaving the victim with minor injuries to her face and neck. The NYPD’s hate crimes task force investigated the incident.
Omer, a 26-year-old resident of the Upper West Side, was charged with assault as a hate crime and criminal mischief as a hate crime on Monday, police said.
Gonzalez, a 25-year-old from Yonkers, was charged on November 20 with attempted robbery and assault as a hate crime.
????WANTED????for a Hate Crime Assault at the corner of Riverside Drive and West 82 Street #UPPERWESTSIDE #manhattan On 11/09/23 @ 9:55 PM Reward up to $3500 Seen them? Know who they are? Call 1-800-577-TIPS or DM us! Calls are CONFIDENTIAL! #yourcityyourcall pic.twitter.com/Wv0mFphN74
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) November 10, 2023
The war between Israel and Hamas has led to repeated disputes on New York City streets, mostly verbal. New York City has seen a surge in antisemitic hate crimes since Hamas launched a murderous onslaught on Israel on October 7, slaughtering 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking over 240 hostage.
The posters bearing the photos and names of Israelis taken hostage by the Palestinian terror group, which pro-Israel advocates have spread around the city and elsewhere worldwide, have become a flashpoint, with anti-Israel activists regularly tearing down or defacing the fliers, sparking disputes with passersby.
Last month, a 19-year-old was charged with hate crimes after attacking an Israeli on the Columbia University campus during a dispute over the posters outside the university library.
Other people have lost jobs or faced other repercussions after footage of them tearing down the posters circulated online.
A number of Israeli hostages, almost all women and children, have been freed from Gaza in recent days in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners convicted or indicted for terror offenses and a pause in the fighting.