Police Treating North London Beating of Jewish Man as Antisemitic Hate Crime
A vigil was to be held in North London on Wednesday to protest against antisemitism and racism after a Jewish man was beaten in an apparent hate crime.
The suspect in the crime, a 44-year-old man, attacked the 69-year-old victim after asking him if he was Jewish. Police are treating the incident as an antisemitic hate crime. The suspect has been detained under the Mental Health Act.
Witness Marian Kennedy described the attack, saying, “The older gentleman was utterly defenseless. He was being hit really hard and my instinct was jump between them but there was so much rage and violence.”
“There was nothing I could do,” she said. “The older man was not retaliating at all. He was just standing there as the guy repeatedly swung.”
“The old man wasn’t aggressive. He was just taking the blows. He kept going: ‘Please stop,’” she added.
“Blood was pouring from the old man’s mouth and his body must have taken a lot of blows,” she stated. “The attacker ran off very fast. He was manic.”
Brittany Russell, who witnessed the aftermath of the crime, said the attack was “definitely a hate crime.”
“The old man told us that he was standing there to catch his breath when the man came up to him and was asking if he was Jewish,” she recalled.
The group Stand Up to Racism organized the vigil, which was to take place in the North London district of Highbury.
Weyman Bennett, a member of the group, told The Islington Gazette, “We must come together to condemn this horrific antisemitic attack.”
“The racist thug who did this gets confidence from the fact that there has been an increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism as a consequence of the attempt by racist and fascist political parties to scapegoat people,” he went on to say.
Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli of the Islington police tweeted, “So very sorry for the victim, his family and the wider Jewish community for this awful and targeted attack.”
“Hate crime is vile, unacceptable and makes minority communities feel vulnerable,” he continued.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, weighed in on Twitter as well, saying, “#AntiSemitism overseas continues to rise & we cannot allow this to go on. We stand with the UK Jewish community & everyone fighting against this #hate.”
A 69-yr-old Jewish man with a cane was brutally beaten in an alleged #antiSemitic attack in the UK. #AntiSemitism overseas continues to rise & we cannot allow this to go on. We stand with the UK Jewish community & everyone fighting against this #hate. https://t.co/K1zX6F5Bzi
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) February 27, 2019