Climate of Hate? Cab Driver Attempts to Run Down Students at Jewish School

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

A Pakistani cab driver drove past a Jewish school, shouting anti-Semitic things before he drove onto the curb and attempted to run people down. This happened yesterday in Brooklyn.


"Somebody came in, running in that a car came onto the sidewalk and almost killed him, almost knocked him down. The guy fell, tripped while running," a student told CBS New York. 

A teacher frantically ran inside the school and told people to call 911 as students were getting ready for class. Students said the driver turned around and went by a second time...

Witnesses said the driver shouted antisemitic statements as he circled the property. He nearly struck three students and two rabbis, yeshiva officials said. 

"It was very scary statements, killing statements," the student said. 

The driver was identified as 58-year-old Asghar Ali. He was arrested shortly after the attack. What did he yell?

A Brooklyn man was charged with a long list of crimes Wednesday after allegedly saying “I will kill all the Jews” and trying to mow down a group of Orthodox men with his car, according to police...

Ali was charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and roughly a dozen other offenses, including menacing, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. Police said he lives in Midwood.

Here's the video of what happened.


Ali apparently has a long history of mental issues and has been hospitalized several times.

Ali, who migrated to the US from Pakistan more than 20 years, has a history of disturbing behavior dating to 2007, law enforcement sources told The Post.

On June 7, 2007, he was taken to the hospital for evaluation after an incident on Coney Island Avenue.

No details were immediately available in that incident, but on Aug. 30, 2011, the sources said Ali was taken into custody by cops for acting irrationally and threatening to harm himself...

Then, on Jan. 21, 2023, the sources said Ali was taken to Coney Island Hospital after he was spotted walking around in circles on Flatbush Avenue and Kings Highway looking confused.

Clearly he has problems but then so did Jared Lee Loughner, the deranged man who shot a bunch of people in Tuscon including Rep. Gabby Giffords back in 2011. The fact that he was a nut didn't stop progressives from collectively deciding that Sarah Palin and the right's tone was probably responsible. 

In fact, this is exactly the sort of thing that would prompt a public discussion about a climate of hate if only the hate in question could be pinned on the right. The general idea is that there are deranged people out there who are absorbing the vibes they pick up from the news. And while responsible adults may be able to discern that not all political speech is meant to be taken literally, we have to worry about those who are too marginal to know the difference. 


All of which would seem to apply in this case. What gave Ashgar Ali the idea to attack a group of Jews in Brooklyn? What aspects of our current political climate might have inspired this hate crime? And it's worth noting this is far from the only such case in New York. Anti-Semitic hate crimes are up and today two different activist groups held a rally to demand public safety.

Two advocate groups -- EndJewHatred and TakeBackNYC -- rallied in front of City Hall amid the rise of antisemitic hate crimes in the city since Oct. 7. That date marked the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas...

In 2024 alone, over 150 antisemitic hate crimes have been reported to the NYPD, 60% more than were reported during the same time period last year.

All the elements to blame this on a climate of hate are there but as it stands I don't think we'll be hearing anyone in the media asking aloud what might have inspired this. All of the likely answers look bad for their team. This is a media game that only gets played when the right can be blamed and put on the defensive.

It should go without saying that no one should be told to silence their views because some nut might get the wrong idea and do something violent. Unless a person is explicitly calling for violence, the behavior of a deranged third party is not the fault of a anyone else. In this case, it's not the fault of campus protesters or leftist commentators on X that this particular man with mental problems tried to kill a group of Jewish people yesterday. 


It's amazing how quickly many on the left forget how that works the moment there's a chance to blame their opponents for some bad behavior. That's when we start hearing speculation about how the climate of hate may have played a role. But again, we won't be hearing any of that this time.

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