Anti-Semitism continues to blight New York City, as made clear by a spate of violent and unprovoked attacks.
The first attack of the holiday week occurred on December 23, when a 65-year-old pedestrian wearing a yarmulke on East 41st Street near Third Avenue—about two blocks from Grand Central Terminal—was assailed by a lone individual at around 11 a.m., CBS reports.
The attack was described as brutal by authorities, with the victim being caught off guard while browsing his phone and first subject to profane and anti-Semitic taunts before being pushed to the ground and punched and kicked in the face and body repeatedly. CNN reports that the perpetrator, Steven Jorge, 48, of Miami—who was quickly apprehended by NYPD and charged with committing assault as a hate crime—allegedly yelled, “f-ck you, Jew,” before commencing his violent assault.
According to CNN, the victim’s injuries—cuts to his face and hands—were treated by EMS at the scene and the man was not immediately hospitalized.
Only one day later in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, on Kingston Avenue, a 25-year-old Jewish man was also verbally and physically accosted. This time, a group was involved in the attack, again yelling, “f-ck you, Jew,” before throwing a Slurpie at the victim and fleeing the scene in fits of laughter. According to NBC, it appeared one of the assailants was filming the attack on his cellphone.
Later that day, and again in Crown Heights on Union Street, just after 5 p.m., a group of four men approached a 65-year-old man from behind, when one of the men proceeded to punch him in the back of the head. According to ABC, this attack was caught on surveillance cameras. The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to arrest in this attack.
ABC also reports that an anti-Semitic assault involving two children in Williamsburg occurred over the holidays, although details have yet to be released. And additionally that the attacks do not seem to be linked.
Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke out against the attacks in a Tweet Wednesday evening, registering his disgust and stating, “This horrific and cowardly act of anti-Semitism is repugnant to our values, and it’s even more despicable that it occurred over the holidays. The despicable crimes committed against our Jewish community over the last 24 hours are an attack on ALL New Yorkers and the NYPD is actively investigating all of them and will bring the perpetrators to justice.”
In November, officials including the anti-Defamation league and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams launched their No Place for Hate initiative in Brooklyn schools in an attempt to end the epidemic of anti-Semitic violence in Brooklyn, prompted by a series of desecrations of Jewish places of worship in the period surrounding Yom Kippur.
In a local context, these attacks occurred only two weeks after a shootout at a Kosher grocery store in Jersey City that left six dead—including one police officer—and that authorities believe was a targeted act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by two individuals who allegedly identified with the Black Israelite movement, Reuters reports.
Worryingly, according to Eyewitness News, there has been a 53% increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes this year compared to figures for the same period in 2018.