As I pointed out on New Year’s Eve, the New York area saw a disturbing number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2019. But the first such incident of 2020 happened on New Year’s Day in Brooklyn. The victim in the latest attack was a 22-year-old Jewish man.
The footage shows a 22-year-old Hasidic Jewish man defending himself before a 24-year-old woman punched him in the neck.
One witness said the attacker yelled anti-Semitic slurs, CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reports. Two women were arrested in connection with the incident and one of them has been charged with assault.
The attack, which happened in Williamsburg, a Brooklyn neighborhood, on New Year’s Day, is being investigated as a hate crime.
“They took him and threw him down to the ground and broke his phone,” said Moses Weiser, a Williamsburg resident. “It’s unbelievable what’s going on. This is a shame.”
The woman responsible was identified as Jasmine Lucas. This is the 13th anti-Semitic crime reported in New York City since December 23rd.
The NY Times published an editorial yesterday recommending that New Yorkers join a march planned march against anti-Semitism this coming weekend. But the editorial was somewhat vague about the nature of the current problem:
Some close to Grafton Thomas, the alleged assailant in the Monsey attacks, have said he has long struggled to find treatment for serious mental illness, statements that shouldn’t be ignored.
Other incidents appear to have been carried out by young people, sometimes in neighborhoods with long histories of tensions between Jewish and black and Hispanic New Yorkers. Mr. de Blasio has also committed to implementing anti-hate crime curriculums in the city’s schools, with a strong focus on middle and high schools in communities adjoining Orthodox neighborhoods.
What could be going so wrong in lives of these young people that their minds are twisted toward such ugliness? To fight hate in the longer term, it’s in the interest of all of us to find out.
An Associated Press report blamed the rise of anti-Semitism on tensions within communities where Jews had chosen to move. The article opens:
For years, ultra-Orthodox Jewish families pushed out of increasingly expensive Brooklyn neighborhoods have been turning to the suburbs, where they have taken advantage of open space and cheaper housing to establish modern-day versions of the European shtetls where their ancestors lived for centuries before the Holocaust.
The expansion of Hasidic communities in New York’s Hudson Valley, the Catskills and northern New Jersey has led to predictable sparring over new housing development and local political control. It has also led to flare-ups of rhetoric seen by some as anti-Semitic.
Now, a pair of violent attacks on such communities, just weeks apart, worry many that intolerance is boiling over.
That seems like an odd way to frame a story about a rise in violent attacks on Jews. They’re not quite saying ‘the Jews started it’ but its awkward at best. Bari Weiss suggested on Twitter that the article was tantamount to victim blaming and I think she has a point:
Imagine blaming cross burnings on the expansion of black communities. https://t.co/ha3R1s3kqF
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) January 2, 2020
Seth Mandel had an even stronger reaction to the same story:
A nice reminder that a political culture that tells Jews where they can live and that violence is their fault when they move over the line is… having its intended effect.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 2, 2020
Here’s a local news report on the latest attack. The video isn’t very clear but seems to be the best available at this point.