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December 28, 2021 11:00 am

New York City Police Seeking Suspect Who Attacked Jewish Man in Brooklyn for Wearing IDF Sweatshirt

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The suspect in an antisemitic attack in Brooklyn, New York on December 26, 2021. Photo: NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force

The NYPD is seeking a suspect who assaulted a Jewish man in Brooklyn for wearing an IDF sweatshirt.

Blake Zavadsky, 21, said he and friend Ilan Kaganovich were approached by two men who called them “dirty Jews,” and demanded that Blake remove his sweatshirt bearing the seal of the Israel Defense Forces.

One of the assailants then punched Zavadsky several times and poured coffee on his sweatshirt, the two victims said in a video statement tweeted Monday by Brooklyn Councilwoman Inna Vernikov.

The NYPD released video footage of the primary assailant, who they said fled on 86th Street toward 4th Avenue.


“Blake and I are Jewish — we should support Israel without it being a problem,” Kaganovich told the New York Post on Monday. “My family moved from the Soviet Union for this reason — to be able to live a better life.”

Zavadsky told the Post he would continue to wear the IDF sweatshirt.

“You can’t be scared to walk outside and say you’re Jewish,” he said. “You have to be proud of who you are and stand up for what you believe — and not be intimidated. Now all we have to do is spread the word and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the attack “abhorrent and unacceptable,” asserting that “antisemitism and all hate has no home in New York.”

She added that she was “ready to offer additional support” to the investigation.

Councilwoman Vernikov said in a statement, “In 1996, my family escaped the former Soviet Union precisely because of incidents such as this one. These boys’ families escaped the former Soviet Union precisely because of incidents such as this one.”

“Jews were beaten, jailed and ostracized from society, just for being Jewish,” she said, “and we escaped to this country for freedom of religion. And here we go again, getting beaten up in broad daylight in the middle of Brooklyn, New York, in the United States of America in 2021.”

The Anti-Defamation League said Monday it was offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the apprehension of the culprits.

“We are outraged by this brazen attack and urge anyone with information to come forward,” said Scott Richman, ADL New York/New Jersey Regional Director, in a statement. “We hope this reward helps send a clear and unequivocal message that crimes like these are unacceptable and have consequences.”

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force have asked for information from the public via @NYPDTips or 1-800-577-TIPS.

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