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January 19, 2023 10:20 am
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NY Jewish Civic and Political Leaders Call for Harsher Penalties for Antisemitic Crime at Rally

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avatar by Dion J. Pierre

End Jew Hatred press conference in Brooklyn New York.

A bipartisan group of Jewish and non-Jewish leaders on Wednesday called for an end to antisemitic hate crimes during an “End Jew Hatred” press conference held outside the Brooklyn Criminal Court in New York City.

The event highlighted special attention to the case of Blake Zavadsky, who, along with a friend, was called a “dirty Jew” and assaulted in Dec. 2021 by two men for wearing an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hoodie.

Zavadsky’s case was “taken seriously” by the local district attorney and his assailant is currently weighing a plea bargain that would entail him serving six months in jail and five years of probation, according to New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R), who attended the event.

“We discussed why Blake’s case was so important and the need for justice in it, which would be a victory for the entire Jewish community,” Vernikov added. “Jail time in the case would be a powerful message to the attackers that they are not just going to go home — they’re going to jail.”

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Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind explained that the victims of antisemitic assaults whom he knows personally never fully recover from the psychological trauma caused by the incidents and urged lawmakers to develop a plan for addressing rising antisemitism and acknowledge that in New York City most attacks are committed by other minorities.

“The issue is a very simple one,” Dov Hikind told The Algemeiner. “I wish judges would be as concerned about the victims of crime as they are about the perpetrators of crime. They sometimes have so much more rachmones, pity, on those committing acts of hate than the people who live with acts of hate for the rest of their lives. So we’re going to keep working and hammering away.”

 

“I am getting very tired of the same routine when it comes to antisemitism. Everybody condemns it. Everybody talks the talk, but nobody does anything really concrete,” he continued. “We need a plan to deal with this unprecedented hate.”

Hasidic and Orthodox Jews in New York City are the minority group most victimized by hate crimes in the city, according to a Dec. 28 report by Americans Against Antisemitism (AAA), a US based group founded in 2019 to raise awareness of rising antisemitism.

The report, titled “The Hate Crime Accountability Project” and based on data provided by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), said that Orthodox Jews were victims in 94 percent of the 194 antisemitic assaults that occurred between 2018 and 2022. 97 percent were committed by members of other minority groups, it added, and nearly a quarter by teenagers.

Over two-thirds, 69 percent, of the assailants were African-American, the report continued, with most attacks, 77 percent, taking place in predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Of all assaults that prompted criminal proceedings, just two resulted in convictions.

Follow reporter Dion J. Pierre at @DionJPierre.

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