Black Lives Matter leader expresses solidarity with Jews after Monsey attack

Head of organization’s Brooklyn branch says stabbing ‘heinous,’ urges communities to ‘work together to do better’

Black Lives Matter Brooklyn President Anthony Beckford (Facebook via JTA)
Black Lives Matter Brooklyn President Anthony Beckford (Facebook via JTA)

NEW YORK — The president of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes following the attack at a Hanukkah party in Monsey.

Anthony Beckford described the incident in which a man attacked party guests with a machete at a rabbi’s house on Saturday as “heinous” in a statement published Sunday by Shorefront News.

“A night of peace turned into a night of violence and trauma and my heart hurts,” he said. “I stand in solidarity with Jewish Community members during this tragedy and condemn all acts of hate. I commend those who were in the synagogue next door for acting quickly and locking the attacker out, preventing him from attacking more people. To be better, we must work together to do better.”

Beckford has run unsuccessfully twice for New York City Council and once for the state Assembly. He has been involved with the progressive group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, according to his bio.

Perpetrators of attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh in 2017 and Poway, California, last spring had expressed white supremacist sentiments, but assailants in the recent attacks in Monsey and Jersey City were African-American. The Jersey City shooters expressed sympathy for the Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement of African-Americans who believe they are descended from ancient Israelites. The Monsey attacker appeared to reference the movement in his journals while also writing about Adolf Hitler and Nazis.

Some adherents of that Black Hebrew Israelite movement subscribe to anti-Semitic beliefs. Many but not all of the assailants in the incidents of harassment and assault in Brooklyn also have been African-American.

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