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Attack was not a hate crime — but pols, Jews rally anyway

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Police say that anti-Semitism was not behind the brutal attack of a 51-year-old Hasidic man in Williamsburg on Friday night — but that didn’t stop local politicians and their religious backers from rallying on Sunday.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) and other elected officials called upon the NYPD to step up patrols in South Williamsburg, home to tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews, especially on the weekend when observant Jewish private security forces curtail their patrols to observe Shabbat, the day of rest.

“Residents ought to be able to walk down their own streets without fear of being attacked,” said Levin. “We need increased police patrols in order to ensure the safety of New Yorkers of all religions.”

Levin was echoed by Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organizations.

“Immediate action must be taken to ensure that our community is safe,” he said. “Our city is said to be one of the safest in the country, but Williamsburg also needs to be safe. Williamsburg cannot go on with such violence and hate.”

Police say that Friday night’s victim was on Lee Avenue near Ross Street at 8:39 pm when the perp approached and asked him if he had any food.

When the man said no, the thug punched him several times in his head, fracturing the victim’s skull before fleeing.

Several neighbors found the victim unconscious on the street and called the police. He was brought to Bellevue Hospital that night, treated over the weekend and released. Police investigated the incident and determined that the attack was not a hate crime.

The attack was the first significant assault against a Hasidic man since last Nov. 25, when three perps knocked a 26-year-old Yeshiva teacher unconscious on Wallabout Street.

This year, assaults overall are up 11 percent in the 90th Precinct.

Hasidic residents are especially on edge this month.

The attack in Williamsburg occurred five blocks from a site where anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled on a playground wall on Nov. 4.

And Midwood residents awoke to a distressing scene of torched vehicles and hateful graffiti scrawled on cars and park benches on Friday morning.

Reach reporter Moses Jefferson at newsroom@cnglocal.com.

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Reader Feedback

anaabdul from cobble hill says:
As with American Foreign policy, we should ask, where is this hatred coming from? What is the motivation? How can we deal with it in a rational manner? Swastikas are only powerful if you let them be.
Nov. 14, 2011, 7:42 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
there is an uptick in anti-semitism, but we don't know about this particular incident.

we just need more cctv on the streets since crime everywhere in the city is on the upswing.
Nov. 14, 2011, 9:06 am
manhatposeur from manhatland says:
Everyone has the right to walk in peace and not be intimidated. Annaabdul, I see this a foolish attempt to link your own leftist political view.
I am not a fan of Hasidics because I see no difference between them and the intolerant Taliban.
Cops should patrol for violence, not stopping hispters on bikes.
Nov. 14, 2011, 9:52 am
BB from Williamsburg says:
Manhatposeur, i am surprised by your ignorant statement comparing Hasids and Taliban. There are enormous differences between Hasids and Taliban. Taliban push their ideals on the rest of the world through radical, violent acts of hatred while Hasids live non-violent, secular, insular lives based on their traditional beliefs. Please be more conscious of what information you put out there.
Nov. 14, 2011, 11:19 am
j from ph says:
BB -- there's not much difference between violent acts and acts of psychological and social oppression. It's one thing to point out that the ultra-orthodox communities do no proselytize... it's another thing to suggest that their insular, highly-structured society isn't a negative thing to many "members" who did nothing more than being born. Have a chat with those who have left the community...

Compare -- Just because your husband doesn't hit you doesn't mean your not abused.

All that said, there is absolutely NO excuse for physical violence. This should be policed and dealt with swiftly and harshly. All of the things I alluded to above should be combated through discourse and persuasion. Traditional religious beliefs do not have to be couched in the backward 18th and 19th century "traditions" of Europe. This is just a self-serving structure for the patriarchy.
Nov. 14, 2011, 11:44 am
j from ph says:
And -- just to be clear -- I am certain that most expressions of antisemitism are just based on ugly bigotry and not a disagreement about "traditional social structures." I personally have serious issues with the "ways" of the Hassidim... this has *nothing* to do with their religious beliefs and articles of faith. It's all to do with plucking a moment of history out of time and ceasing all change (well, ya know, when convenient).
Nov. 14, 2011, 11:56 am
Anna from Queens says:
Those Jews love to cause a scene.
Nov. 14, 2011, 1:39 pm
Jones from Southside says:
Let's blame the hipsters!
Nov. 14, 2011, 2:22 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Oh please, one Hasid gets knocked around by some street thug and now the hysteria and demands begin.
Nov. 14, 2011, 4:54 pm
Skelltell from Fort Greene says:
Not a hate crime but let's rally anyway!
Nov. 14, 2011, 6:21 pm
k says:
call in the national guard! quick!
Nov. 14, 2011, 6:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Can someone please explain why vandalizing someone's car with swatzikas and the KKK symbol isn't a hate crime? I guess when it's the Jews, it's not a hate a crime especially because they are considered the white man's religion. Keep in mind that there is a thing such as black Jews, and if you don't believe me, then go to Ethopia, because there are many of them there. If that wasn't anti-Semetism, then I don't know what is. I wouldn't be surprised if that was also done to be anti-Israel as well, and there have been times when anti-Semetic attacks were equated to being anti-Israel or as I would like to call it being pro-terrorist in support of groups such as Hamas, who are constantly attacking innocent Israeli civillians who aren't even armed.
Nov. 14, 2011, 8:42 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
BB, I appreciate your observations, but Hasidism is not secular. It certainly can be insular, but secular? No. It is indeed traditional--religious traditional. Hasidism traces to the Besht in Eastern Europe--here is a wiki to help:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasidism
As the wiki indicates, Hasidism is a widespread channel for Jewish "mysticism" [even though scholars like Joseph Dan will point out that there is no such thing as "Jewish mysticism" being that "mysticism" is at best an approximation of the behavior and materials being examined]. Mysticism is NOT secular. Mysticism is the exact opposite of secularism. Secularism is the institutional separation of government from religion--you're confusing the notion of "separation" and "separateness" in the Jew/Gentile context with the idea of separation between church and state. Here is another wiki that may help in that regard:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism

Works by Gerschom Scholem and Moshe Idel are excellent summaries of Hasidism. I highly recommend their work.

I hope this furthers the discussion.
Nov. 15, 2011, 12:07 am
anywho says:
So one Jewish guy gets beat up, ok. How about the hundreds of black and Latino teenagers that are victims of serious crimes everyday throughout the City, what about them? How that double standard? Give me a break!
Nov. 15, 2011, 7:35 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
anywho, I feel you on that. But don't let the unfairness of this paper, or even our society, get us twisted about what is right. The lives of black and Latino teenagers should not be ignored, but don't use that as a reason to suppress appropriate responses elsewhere. There is a problem with anti-semitism, as there are problems with racism and homophobia and misogyny all over the city. When it comes time, and man is it coming, for action on the lives of black and Latino teenagers, don't let someone else dismiss that cause because other causes exist, too.
Nov. 15, 2011, 7:52 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
anywho, I just came across this Daily News article that corroborates your view:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/anti-latino-hate-crime-surges-2010-66-6-ethnic-bias-victims-hispanic-origin-45-2009-article-1.977650

It seems that anti-Hispanic hate makes up the majority of hate crimes in NYC.
Nov. 15, 2011, 9:21 am
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
@Any who, I agree. crime happens to a lot of people but no! when its them forget about it, its personal. like they think their special. they need to wake up, no one is exempt from crime.
Nov. 16, 2011, 2:33 pm

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