New York police’s hate crimes unit investigating 3 alleged antisemitic attacks

In incident caught on video, assailant tracks Jewish couple, then strikes man in the back of the head; ADL offers $7,500 reward for information

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

An assailant ambushes a Jewish couple from behind in New York City in security footage captured on February 4, 2022. (Screenshot)
An assailant ambushes a Jewish couple from behind in New York City in security footage captured on February 4, 2022. (Screenshot)

NEW YORK — The New York police’s hate crimes unit said on Saturday that it was investigating three alleged antisemitic attacks.

The three incidents took place during Shabbat on Friday and Saturday in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Two were physical assaults and one was antisemitic graffiti.

In one attack captured by security cameras, an ultra-Orthodox man and woman were seen walking down a sidewalk on Friday night.

An assailant trailed them behind a row of parked cars, then ran up behind the man and struck him in the back of the head, knocking his hat to the ground. The assailant then fled.

Another alleged assault was reported in the same area on Friday night, according to local groups and the Anti-Defamation League. Details were not immediately available, and it was not clear if the attacks were connected.

In a third antisemitic incident in Williamsburg over the weekend, vandals sprayed swastikas on school buses for Jewish religious schools. The buses were clearly marked with Hebrew letters.

The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force said it had opened an active investigation into the incidents, with the help of the local police department and the Shomrim community protection group.

The Anti-Defamation League offered a $7,500 reward for information on the attacks.

“Attacks against visibly identifiable Jews here in New York and New Jersey have become practically a weekly occurrence,” said Scott Richman, the ADL’s regional director for the New York and New Jersey area.

“The Jewish community is on extreme edge and this violence has got to stop. It is becoming normalized, and we simply cannot accept that as a state of affairs,” Richman said in a statement.

Jews in New York are regularly targeted in antisemitic attacks, including physical assaults, graffiti, and verbal abuse.

In other recent incidents, on Tuesday, the NYPD arrested a suspect for punching an ultra-Orthodox man in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.

Also Tuesday, vandals scrawled the racial slur “kike” five times on the wall of a subway station. Police have also said they are looking for another man who drew swastikas and anti-Black statements on a construction fence in upper Manhattan.

Last weekend, a truck driver shouted at Jews in Brooklyn, “Go back to your fucking country, let Hitler kill you,” in an incident caught on video. His employer fired him for the comments.

A New Jersey snow plow operator was fired on Saturday after posting a video of himself deliberately blasting two ultra-Orthodox men with snow. The two Jewish men are suing him for a hate crime.

New York police made two other arrests for alleged hate crimes against Jews last month. In one incident, a woman told Jewish children, “Hitler should have killed you all” and spit on them.

In another, a man allegedly assaulted a Jewish man for wearing an Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt.

Hate crimes usually do not lead to arrests in New York. The 198 confirmed hate crimes against Jews in New York last year only resulted in 58 arrests.

Jews are targeted in hate crimes more than any other group in New York City, by far. Anti-Jewish attacks accounted for 38 percent of all confirmed hate crimes in New York City last year, according to NYPD statistics.

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