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ADL: Reports of 'frightening attacks against Jews'

Jews attacked, one person burned amid pro-Palestinian protests in New York City

Fireworks thrown from car in heavily-Jewish Diamond District as protesters shout ‘F**king Zionists’; Jewish diners attacked at a restaurant; consulate slams ‘toxic’ demonstrations

Supporters of the Palestinians march in New York Thursday, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Supporters of the Palestinians march in New York Thursday, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (JTA) — One person was burned when two fireworks were thrown from a car amid an altercation with anti-Zionist protesters in a heavily Jewish New York City business district, according to police.

The fight came on Thursday evening, on what appeared to be the final day of the conflict between Hamas and Israel, before a ceasefire that took effect overnight. Additional videos circulating on social media appeared to show other physical altercations between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in New York City Thursday.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, there has been an increase in antisemitism in the United States both online and on the ground during the conflict, which has seen large pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the country. As of Thursday, the ADL tallied 193 incidents of antisemitic incidents in the week since the conflict began, compared to 131 the previous week.

The ADL said there were many reports of “frightening attacks against Jews” in the city on Thursday evening and they were in contact with police and the FBI.

The fight in New York City occurred around the same time as a pro-Israel demonstration on Thursday in New York City that also attracted pro-Palestinian counter-protesters. It took place in the Diamond District, a midtown Manhattan street with many Jewish-owned businesses.

In two videos posted to Twitter on Thursday, a group of men wearing the colors of the Palestinian flag can be seen yelling “f–king Zionist” and similar expletives while holding a Palestinian flag. At the beginning of one of the videos, someone appears to be lying on the ground.

Later in that video, one of the pro-Palestinian protesters shoves a man. A crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters wearing scarves on their heads then walks down the middle of the street, guided by police.

In another brief video from 47th St., a bang can be heard along with a flash of light and smoke as people scramble. The chronology of the two videos is unclear.

Altercations with the pro-Palestinian protesters were seen in several locations around the city, including a mob attacking diners at a restaurant.

The NYPD told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that two commercial fireworks were thrown from a car, and one person sustained a minor burn. The police force’s Arson Investigation Squad and a detective squad are investigating the incident.

The Israeli Consulate in New York on Friday said the wave of protests was more violent than previously seen in the area, even when tensions were high.

“The demonstrations are larger, more toxic, and unfortunately also more violent. There is a direct connection between Hamas’ stated agenda which is sworn to Israel’s destruction and the slogans of the demonstrators that undermine the legitimacy of Israel as the Jewish nation-state,” the consulate said in a statement.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report

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