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December 29, 2019 9:59 pm

Victim of Antisemitic Attack in Brooklyn Decries Release of Perpetrator, Blasts ‘Unwillingness to Sympathize With Orthodox Community’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg have faced a string of hate crimes. Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

A young Jewish woman whose antisemitic attacker was released without bail on Saturday despite admitting to her crime, voiced anger over the failure of law enforcement to protect future potential victims.

It’s “a win for the criminals, and a big fail for the protection of the vulnerable targets they’re going after,” Dalia Shusterman told The Algemeiner on Sunday.

Shusterman was among three women who were attacked by Tiffany Harris on Thursday in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Harris was released over the weekend as a result of new bail reform legislation just passed into law and set to take effect on January 1, the New York Post reported. A law enforcement source told the Post, however, that “the de Blasio administration has made it clear that we all need to get into compliance with bail reform now.”

Harris admitted her crime to police officers, according to the criminal complaint against her. “Yes, I slapped them,” she said. “I cursed them out. I said ‘F-U, Jews.’”

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According to Shusterman, the decision to release Harris was also symptomatic of the authorities’ broader failure to adequately protect the Jewish community. “It’s a malignant growth out of their unwillingness to sympathize with the Orthodox Jewish community, which has always been relegated as the other, stereotyped as oppressors, and treated as unworthy of societal protection,” she asserted.

“There are too many voices encouraging this very specific hatred and not enough efforts to call it out as the evil that it is,” she said.

Shusterman also explained her use on social media of the term “pogrom” to describe the attacks. “That’s what I’m calling it,” she said. “It’s not organized by the government. But there is a cultural attack from the African-American community towards Jews that’s been going on and is finally becoming undeniable by the population at large.”

Regarding her and her community’s feelings about being visibly Jewish in New York right now, she said, “Some are afraid. I’m personally angry. The thought that there are people walking around thinking it’s okay to hurt people because of their culture is an ancient bonehead idea that should’ve been left back in the dark ages.”

“The fact that those acting on these notions are wrongly being shielded by their own sense of cultural victimization is profoundly absurd,” she emphasized. “We’re all in this world together and we’ve all got to make it better by doing the right thing. Period. There’s no excuse for unprovoked violence.”

“As far as how I feel about being visibly Jewish, just like the song says, this land was made for you and me,” she added. “I teach my children to be proud of who they are, and I believe that ought to be a universal game plan. Our days of going into hiding are over.”

The attack on Shusterman was among at least eight other antisemitic assaults in New York over the past few weeks, culminating in a brutal stabbing assault in the town of Monsey in which five people were wounded by a machete-wielding assailant.

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