search
'They saw Jews as subhuman and like reptiles,' says prosecutor. 'They were partners in hate, intimidation and crime'

New Jersey ‘partners in hate’ get 35 years for anti-Semitic firebombings

Anthony Graziano and Aakash Dalal jailed for attacks in 2011 and 2012 on synagogues, rabbi’s home

Anthony Graziano and Aakash Dalal are led from the courtroom after their sentencing, Friday, July 28, 2017 in Hackensack, NJ. Graziano and Dalal have been sentenced to 35 years in prison for terrorizing a group of Jewish communities in New Jersey. Prosecutors say they firebombed two synagogues, threw a Molotov cocktail into the home of a rabbi and also spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti at two other synagogues. (Allison Pries/The Record via AP, Pool)
Anthony Graziano and Aakash Dalal are led from the courtroom after their sentencing, Friday, July 28, 2017 in Hackensack, NJ. Graziano and Dalal have been sentenced to 35 years in prison for terrorizing a group of Jewish communities in New Jersey. Prosecutors say they firebombed two synagogues, threw a Molotov cocktail into the home of a rabbi and also spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti at two other synagogues. (Allison Pries/The Record via AP, Pool)

NEW YORK — Two New Jersey men convicted in the firebombing of North Jersey synagogues in 2011 and 2012 were each sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Anthony Graziano and Aakash Dalal were charged on a 30-count indictment in 2013 with arson and bias-related incidents that occurred from December 2011 to January 2012 in the Bergen County towns of Paramus, Rutherford, Maywood and Hackensack, according to NorthJersey.com, which reported their sentencing Friday.

Aakash Dalal of Lodi was convicted last November for vandalizing and firebombing synagogues and a rabbi’s home in 2012. He was convicted by a Bergen County court on 16 other counts, including conspiracy to commit arson, attempted arson, bias intimidation, possession of a weapon and possession of a destructive device.

Dalal, a former student at Rutgers University, was arrested in March 2012. Dalal has been called the mastermind behind the attacks and did not actually participate in them.

Graziano, his former high school classmate, also was found guilty of terrorism and 19 other counts in May 2016 for the attacks.

Rabbi Nosson Schuman, wounded in a firebombing attack on the synagogue of his congregation, Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, in 2011. (Screen capture YouTube)
Rabbi Nosson Schuman, wounded in a firebombing attack on the synagogue of his congregation, Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, in 2011. (Screen capture YouTube)

The two, both in their 20s, were sentenced together because they worked as a partnership, Brian Sinclair, an assistant Bergen County prosecutor, told NorthJersey.com.

“They saw the world with the same set of eyes. They saw Jewish people not as people but as subhuman and like reptiles,” Sinclair said. “They were partners in hate, intimidation and crime.”

In one attack, Molotov cocktails thrown at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford set fire to a bedroom in the synagogue residence where the rabbi’s family lived. The rabbi, Nosson Schuman, was injured. He lives in the residence with his wife, five children and his parents, who were sleeping at the time.

At two other synagogues, Graziano spray-painted anti-Semitic epithets, including swastikas and “Jews Did 9/11.” Graziano allegedly was scared off an attack by an increased police presence.

The men also were charged with the January 2012 firebombing of Temple K’hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus and the attempted arson four days later of the Jewish Community Center of Paramus. The bias intimidation offenses related to Temple Beth Israel in Maywood and Temple Beth El in Hackensack.

AP contributed to this report.

read more:
comments