From New York and California to Illinois and Utah, the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza has generated a disturbing backlash against American Jews – who have found themselves the targets of death threats, hate speech and violent physical attacks.
“Stop telling me this is about Israel and Gaza,” said a New Yorker who was confronted by a pro-Palestinian mob on his way to synagogue this week. “My people are being targeted across the United States in broad daylight. This is textbook anti-Semitism, and we will continue to live in danger until the public starts to recognize it for what it is.”
His remarks were a common refrain rippling across U.S. Jewish communities in recent days. Here’s a look at some recent incidents throughout the country.
Troubling footage emerged late Thursday showing pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clashing on a midtown Manhattan sidewalk, despite Israel and Gaza having reached a ceasefire agreement earlier in the day. Police confirmed that two commercial fireworks were thrown from a car and one person suffered minor burns.
New York Jews were already on edge from a disturbing video that showed an older man being viciously beaten by a gang of pro-Palestinians for wearing a Yarmulke as he attempted to cross a street in Times Square earlier in the day. Police said their Hate Crime Task Force was investigating the gang assault and urged the public to come forward with information.
“Wearing a Kippah in NYC always felt safer than anywhere else in the world,” a prominent New York attorney told Fox News. “I’ll never take mine off, but I will for the first time have to teach my children to be careful if they choose to wear theirs publicly,” he said.
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Source: Fox News
Arrests in Times Square melee over Israel; Jewish man beaten
NEW YORK (AP) — More than two dozen people were arrested as pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrators clashed in New York City’s Times Square and police were investigating the gang assault of a Jewish man as a hate crime, police said Friday.
“It’s absolutely disgusting and unacceptable,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on WNYC public radio. “We had a man viciously beaten simply because he appeared to some individuals to be Jewish. We had folks throwing very potent fireworks and creating harm to others and burning some folks, at least one person.”
The melee on Thursday evening resulted in more than two dozen arrests on charges including, hate crime assault, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and criminal possession of a weapon, according to city police. Police said their hate crime unit was investigating the attack on the Jewish man as well as “professional grade fireworks” being thrown at bystanders, injuring a woman.
A video posted to social media purporting to show the attack on the Jewish man shows a group of people striking and kicking what appears to be a person down on the street. One man appears to violently swing a crutch down on him.
Police on Friday afternoon announced on Twitter that Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arrested for using a crutch to assault a man in that area. He was charged with hate crime assault and other charges. It could not immediately be determined if he had a lawyer.
Police did not provide further details and it was not immediately clear if the unidentified victim was involved in the demonstrations.
WABC-TV reported that the victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries and released.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday condemned the attack and said the state police Hate Crimes Task Force would offer assistance.
“New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world. This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence,” Cuomo said in a prepared release.
During one part of the demonstrations, a large firework detonated on the sidewalk as groups of shouting pro-Palestinian protesters drove through Manhattan’s Diamond District, which is closely associated with the city’s Jewish community.
Video posted on social media showed people scrambling to get clear of the pyrotechnic as it detonated, and then shoving breaking out between bystanders and protesters shouting curses about Zionism.
Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire Thursday in an 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and left more than 200 people dead.
De Blasio said city police reinforced their presence in sensitive areas of Jewish and Palestinian communities after the fighting began overseas.