Pro-Palestinian protesters allegedly attack man with Israeli flag in New York

Demonstrators reportedly approach man with flag during Manhattan rally, punch him in the face; police say they’re investigating case as a possible bias incident

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

File: Pro-Palestinian activists hold a "Globalize the Intifada" protest against Israel and in support of Palestinian security prisoners in New York City, September 17, 2021. (Luke Tress/Flash90)
File: Pro-Palestinian activists hold a "Globalize the Intifada" protest against Israel and in support of Palestinian security prisoners in New York City, September 17, 2021. (Luke Tress/Flash90)

NEW YORK — Pro-Palestinian protesters allegedly assaulted a man holding an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel demonstration in New York City on Wednesday.

Police were investigating the case as a possible bias incident.

The 28-year-old victim said he was walking down the street when men from the protest pointed out an Israeli flag he was holding.

One of the protesters approached the victim and punched him, knocking him to the ground, then kicked him while he was down.

The alleged attack took place at the corner of East 42nd street and Lexington avenue in Manhattan at around 6:15 p.m., a little over an hour after the start of the protest.

The victim was treated for swelling, bruising and redness to the face.

The suspect is a man around 5 feet 10 inches tall, 170 pounds, with short brown hair, police told The Times of Israel.

The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit was notified.

A bystander who said he witnessed the attack shared footage with The Times of Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was “horrified at the sheer violence” of the incident.

The Wednesday protest began near the Israeli consulate in Manhattan. Activist groups including Within Our Lifetime, Samoudin and the Palestinian Youth Movement organized the event.

Around 100 demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and chanted, “Globalize the intifada,” “We don’t want no two states, we want all of it,” “Israel, go to hell,” and “From the river to the sea.” They also stomped on and burned an Israeli flag.

Illustrative: Anti-Israel protesters call for an intifada at a protest in New York City, September 17, 2021. (Luke Tress/Flash90)

For Israelis, intifada, literally meaning “uprising” in Arabic, conjures traumatic memories of a mass wave of terror attacks in the early 2000s. The period saw suicide bombings and other terror attacks in Israel that killed hundreds of civilians. “From the river to the sea” is widely regarded as a call to destroy the Jewish state.

Members of the fringe anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta group were in attendance. The group regularly participates in anti-Israel rallies in the area.

A small group of pro-Israeli counter-protesters led by the Yad Yamin group gathered across from the Israeli consulate under police protection. They held signs with pictures of Israelis killed in recent terror attacks, waved Israeli flags and argued with pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Pro-Israel counter-protesters outside the Israeli consulate in New York City, April 20, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Around a dozen police separated the two groups.

The pro-Palestinian groups hold regular rallies in New York, including a demonstration at the end of last month, and another one planned for later this month.

At last month’s protest, the demonstrators marched to the offices of Jewish and Israel-linked organizations to protest outside, and distributed maps with the locations of 18 Jewish and Israeli offices to protest participants.

In December, a 21-year-old man was attacked in Brooklyn for wearing an Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt.

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

Antisemitic hate crimes are soaring this year. Last month, there were 23 antisemitic attacks, representing a 92% increase over the same period last year.

Jews are the victims of 47% of all confirmed incidents in the city since the start of the year.

The antisemitic incidents include assaults on city streets against visibly identifiable Jews, racist graffiti, property damage, and verbal abuse. Most attacks take place in Brooklyn.

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