There has been a “troubling rise” in anti-semitic attacks in the U.S. that seems to correlate with the recent rise in the conflict in the Middle East. The attacks seemed to coincide with the recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Police are increasing security around various synagogues and other Jewish sites in New York City and Los Angeles.
On May 20, a 29-year-old Jewish man named Joseph Borgen was attacked by Waseem Awawdeh in Manhattan—after which the attacker was called “a Hero” and chants of Free Palestine were heard. The attack was called a “hate crime” and Awawdeh, who has allegedly been arrested six times in the last six months, was later released on $10,000 bail.
Palestinian terror supporter Waseem Awawdeh brutally assaulted Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man, unconscious on a NYC street. Here he is with his friends celebrating his release on bail. h/t @JackKaplanNY pic.twitter.com/QTNnm3HwVj
— Avi Kaner (@AviKaner) May 24, 2021
Waseem Awawdeh was held on $10,000 bail in the Thursday attack, in which he is accused of beating Joseph Borgen, 29, with crutches and punching, kicking and pepper-spraying him.
He's posted bail and he's out already. pic.twitter.com/TO2XDAkIeZ
— Robert G. Silverman (@RobertGSilvermn) May 24, 2021
In an interview, the bruised Borgen stated that “never in a million years [did he] think that wearing a yarmulke would put [him] in harm’s way…They were macing me for like a minute straight,” he said. “Kicked me, punched me, beat me with crutches, hit me with flags.” He also suffered a concussion due to the incident.
Anti-Semitic Attack: 29-year-old Joseph Borgen was beaten, pepper-sprayed in #NYC by pro-Palestinian supporters while walking to pro-Israel rally
'Never in a million years would I think wearing a yarmulke would put me in harm's way.' pic.twitter.com/1LHKrLdUvL
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) May 23, 2021
While Mayor de Blasio has not contacted Borgen, he did issue a statement about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. saying it is part of a “horrible and consistent pattern and we have to stand up to it. We have to call it out.”
The anti-Semitism were seeing across our country isn’t in isolation and isn’t just a few incidents. It’s part of a horrible and consistent pattern.
History teaches us we ignore that pattern at our own peril.
We have to stand up to it. We have to call it out. pic.twitter.com/I99gXDfBSS
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 21, 2021
Also, in NYC, there were clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Jewish supporters outside the Israeli consulate. Chants for “Free, free Palestine” can be heard in the video captured below:
There were two incidents in LA last week and appear to be related. On May 17 a Jewish man was chased down by men holding Palestinian flags in cars and on May 18 two Jewish men were attacked by a Palestinian car caravan in a restaurant. LA Deputy Police Chief Dominic Choi told reporters in a press conference, “We do believe that these two incidents are related, by some evidence that’s available,” Choi said.
Some Jewish activists are speaking out in solidarity with Palestinians. In NYC, on May 15, a group of activists convened in support of Palestinian liberation as well as condemnation of the murder of children in Gaza due to the recent conflagration.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose mission is to fight antisemitism, reported having found on Twitter, “17,000 tweets between May 7 and May 14 with variations of the words: ‘Hitler was right.'”
The ADL tracks reported anti-semitic incidents. Tracking on the site began in 1979. Incidents have been reported in Skokie, Il., Houston, TX, Bal Harbour, Florida, Salt Lake City, Utah, among other cities in the U.S. In New Mexico, a Jewish Community Center “received harassing and antisemitic email that read: ‘Fuck’ Jew scum murdering Muslims. Hitler had it right.'”
On May 23, two teenagers were surrounded in a Brooklyn neighborhood by four to five teenagers who then assaulted them by “punching them in the head.”
Palestinians have also been the target of hate crimes in recent weeks. A mosque was vandalized in Brooklyn in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood in mid-march with Anti-Palestinian graffiti that read “Death to Palestine.”
According to data collected by the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, in 2019 of the 1,715 victims of hate crimes, 60.2 percent of those were motivated by anti-Jewish sentiment. 13.2 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.