A Jewish man, 70, was brutally beaten in broad daylight on a street in Islington on Tuesday.
The attack took place at around 2:15 pm when the Jewish man was walking down the street and stopped to catch his breath. A man, described as being bald, walked up to him and asked him if he was Jewish. The suspect then started to punch the elderly man in the face repeatedly. The victim did not fight back and was left bleeding heavily from his face and mouth.
The Islington Gazette reported:
One horrified bystander told the Gazette she tried to stop the attack, while another witness ran into the road and flagged down police officers at about 2.15pm. The man with a walking stick, said to be in his 70s, was set upon by a shaven-headed attacker who continued to punch him in the face as he lay bleeding on the floor at Highbury Corner.
A second witness said the man told her afterwards his assailant had asked if he was Jewish before laying into him.
The attacker, said to be of “strong build” and aged in his 30s, was last seen running away from the scene at speed. Police are investigating.
Marian Kennedy said the attack against the man, who was wearing a checked shirt and overcoat, was totally unprovoked. She was still shaking two hours later.
She told the Gazette: “He was punching him violently and right in the face with a closed fist.
“The older gentleman was utterly defenceless. 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. The older man was not retaliating at all. He was just standing there as the guy repeatedly swung.”
Marian says she started calling out for the attacker to stop, at which point he pivoted around and claimed the old man had hit him with the stick.
She doesn’t believe this was the case.
“The old man wasn’t aggressive,” she said. “He was just taking the blows. He kept going: ‘Please stop’.
“Blood was pouring from the old man’s mouth and his body must have taken a lot of blows. The attacker ran off very fast. He was manic.
“The older man said he’d never seen him before. It was a random attack.”
She said the victim told her he was a former boxer, so could take the punches, but that his body was “too old to defend itself”.
Brittany Russell was at the scene when the police arrived and told the Gazette it was “definitely a hate crime”.
She said: “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.
“Following that the man started to hit him and that’s when I was walking past with my mum.
“My mum and I, along with three others stood with the victim, when another lady ran onto the road to alert a police van nearby.”
A Met Police spokesperson said: “Officers are investigating reports of a racially aggravated public order offence. A report was received by police at 2.12pm today. The incident is believed to have taken place in Highbury Fields, N5. Enquiries are ongoing.”
Corbyn tweets about the incident
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has tweeted about the incident saying, “Today in Islington an elderly man was violently assaulted because he was Jewish. This racist attack has shaken our community. I’ve spoken with local councillors and we will be supporting the police. I urge anyone who saw anything to contact the police.”
Whilst we do not question Corbyn’s sincerity in this tweet, it is, however, unfortunate timing that his comment comes on the day Labour refused to give support to the banning of Hezbollah – a terrorist organisation that is committed to the destruction of Israel, vows to murder Jews and is responsible for the deadliest terror attack in South American history, which left 86 Jews dead, is responsible for killing Jewish people in Europe and spread hate for the Jewish people on the streets of London, at events where Corbyn himself has spoken. It also comes after years of the Labour leadership showing contempt for the Jewish community and failing to deal with anti-Semitism within their own party.
In response, many notable people tweeted the Labour leader letting him know their thoughts.
One example is Arsen Ostrovsky, who tweeted, “Please leave your crocodile tears at home! All you have done is incite, insult and attack the Jewish community. Because of you, and your leadership of @UKLabour, #Antisemitism in UK is at record level & Jews literally considering if they have a future in Britain should you be PM!”
Please leave your crocodile tears at home! All you have done is incite, insult and attack the Jewish community. Because of you, and your leadership of @UKLabour, #Antisemitism in UK is at record level & Jews literally considering if they have a future in Britain should you be PM!
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 27, 2019