Ex-rideshare driver accused in California antisemitic attack charged with federal hate crime

Federal prosecutors charged a former rideshare driver in connection with an antisemitic attack on a passenger at San Francisco International Airport in 2023 that occurred weeks after the Hamas-led shock incursion into Israel on October 7 that sparked the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

The 39-year-old man was arrested today and was in court for his initial appearance. He is charged with committing a federal hate crime and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The alleged attack occurred on Oct. 26, 2023, when federal prosecutors say the defendant approached the victim at a pickup spot and asked if they were Jewish or Israeli, saying he would not transport a Jewish or Israeli person. He then punched the victim in the face, prosecutors allege.

The indictment did not mention whether the victim was actually Jewish or Israeli, only that the defendant perceived them to be.

The defendant’s federal public defender did not immediately return a request for comment.

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