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January 30, 2023 5:45 pm

‘Do It For Kanye’: Assault on Jewish Man and Arson Attempt on Synagogue Add to Wave of Antisemitic Hate Crimes in US


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Illustrative Rapper Kanye West. Photo: Reuters/Randall Hill

An attempted arson at a New Jersey synagogue and a gang-beating of a Jewish man in Maryland were both reported over the weekend.

During the early morning hours on Sunday, a masked man hurled a Molotov cocktail at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, New Jersey, attempting to burn it down. Surveillance cameras on the property filmed the incident.

“We have and will continue to do everything in our power to keep our community safe,” Temple Ner Tamid Rabbi Marc Katz said, according to a statement issued on Sunday. “Everything worked as it should. Our cameras recorded the incident and our shatter-resistant doors held. What I cannot do is convince our community not to grow despondent.”

New Jersey’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office on Sunday said it is “actively investigating the incident” and that it caused no injuries or property damage.

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In another incident in Montgomery County, Maryland, local police arrested Eugene Thompson, who is accused of attacking a Jewish man inside a grocery store.

According to an NBC affiliate, Thompson attacked the victim for asking that he and and his friends not steal doughnuts and throw fruit. The confrontation devolved into a conflict motivated by racial animus when the Jewish victim, preparing to defend himself against the group, unzipped his jacket, revealing a Star of David necklace.

The group then pounced on the victim, beating him into unconsciousness while one of them shouted, “Yeah, do it for Kanye.”

Police later located and arrested Thompson at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. During a search of his person, the victim’s key were found. He is currently imprisoned without bond on charges of first degree assault and robbery. He is expected to be charged with a hate crime, local media reported.

Data on antisemitic incidents for the year 2022 is forthcoming, but in 2021, they occurred at the highest numbers ever recorded, according to the latest annual audit by the ADL carried out in April, which began collecting data on them in 1979. Substantial increases in physical assaults were recorded, as well as over 1,500 incidents of harassment and vandalism.

Antisemitic incidents occurred in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. Five states, New York (416), New Jersey (370), California (367), Florida (190), Michigan (112) and Texas (112), accounted for 58 percent of the total number counted.

In Dec., the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on Tuesday criticized the FBI for issuing incomplete statistics on antisemitic hate crimes.

The group contested the FBI’s report, Hate Crime in the United States Incident Analysis for 2021, calling the bureau’s process for gathering data on antisemitic hate crimes “essentially useless” because it said  antisemitic hate crimes decreased in 2021, when, according to organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, they had in fact increased by 59 percent.

Such omissions are “colossal” Brandeis Center chairman Kenneth L. Marcus told The Algemeiner at the time.

Follow reporter Dion J. Pierre at @DionJPierre.

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