According to New York Police Department (NYPD) figures, anti-Semitic incidents rose by 22% in 2018, with Jews being the victims of hate crimes more than all other targeted groups combined.
The NYPD figures show that of the 352 hate crimes recorded, 183 were anti-Semitic incidents. Physical assaults against Jews have also increased by 60%.
Interestingly, whilst anti-Semitic incidents have increased, anti-Muslim incidents dropped by nearly half according to the same figures. There have been 18 this year, down from 34 last year and 31 in 2016.
Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director for New York, suggested that anti-Semitic incidents had increased after the 27 October Pittsburgh synagogue massacre where 11 Jewish worshippers were shot dead by a white supremacist.
The ADL estimates that 12 to 14 percent of Americans hold anti-Semitic beliefs and the thought is that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting emboldened those with anti-Semitic attitudes to act out on their own prejudices.
The attack “opened up people, even more, to act out on these feelings,” Bernstein said. “I think for certain people it gave them a green light, and that’s what is so concerning.”
60% increase in physical assaults on Jews
The number of physical assaults on Jewish people is quite shocking, seeing a massive 60% increase in 2018.
An example of one of these assaults happened in April last year when an identifiably Jewish man was left with a black eye, broken rib and scratches on his neck and back after being beaten and choked by a stranger.
He was walking home from his synagogue when he greeted a stranger who then got very angry.
“Who are you talking to? I don’t talk to Jews.” the man replied.
The victim walked away hastily but was pursued by the attacker. “I turned around and I see that he’s right behind me,” the victim said. “And he jumped me and says, ‘I hate Jews’”.
CCTV footage shows the attacker running down the street after the victim, then wrestles with him, throwing him against a fence before punching and choking him.
When the victim cried out for help the attacker replied, “you don’t need help, I’m going to kill you right here”.
Two nurses, a man and a woman, who were walking nearby, pulled the attacker off the victim and told the Jewish man to run.
The Jewish man, however, retrieved his hat and glasses first whilst the suspect continued to hurl abuse at him. The two nurses talked the attacker out of doing anything further.
Another attack which took place in October was captured on local surveillance video cameras and is viewable below.
The victim, 62, was carrying a special bag containing his prayer shawl and phylacteries and appeared to be walking to morning services.
The attack, captured on local surveillance video cameras, occurred when a younger man got out of his car and chased the Jewish man into the middle of the intersection, where he began throwing him down on the road and beating him.
After several blows, another elderly Jewish man attempts to intervene and is chased off by the assailant.
Police identified the attacker as Farrukh Afzal, 38, and arrested him, ABC News reported. He is facing charges of hate crime assault, mischief and harassment.