Two Jewish men attacked with fire extinguishers in NYC

Originally published in Independent

Two seemingly connected hate crimes commited against two different Jewish men in a suburb of New York City have once again raised alarm bells around antisemitism.

In a video shared by the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s Crime Stoppers unit on Monday, one Jewish man, 72, could be seen being approached by a man with a fire extinguisher and getting doused twice while trying to walk away.

A second man, 66, could then be seen running from a group of two in the second attack about half-a-mile away. Both men told police that a fire extinguisher was used against them in what was an apparent hate crime, NBC News reported.

Those targeted in the attacks say they believe religion were behind the apparent anti-Jewish hate crimes, which were 114 per cent higher this July than in July 2021, new data from the NYPD shows.

Meanwhile in Feburary, the figures were even higher following a 409 per cent rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes recorded by the NYPD, in what New York state Senator Anna Kaplan called a “really, really disturbing” trend in an interview with The Independent at the time.

“It was not only my father. It was another Jewish guy like two minutes after his attack,” the son of the 72-year-old victim told CBS2 on Monday before adding: “Definitely it’s a hate crime.”

Ms Kaplan told The Independent in a statement on Wednesday that the Williamsburg attacks were “horrifying incidents” and “just the latest in a string of terrible antisemitic violence targeting Jewish people”.

“We’ve all seen a rising tide of hatred and extremism in this country and around the world, and these horrifying incidents are just the latest in a string of terrible antisemitic violence targeting Jewish people that should shake the conscience of every American,” said the Democratic New York senator.

She continued: “We must forcefully reject antisemitism and hate-fueled violence whenever it rears its ugly head, and the perpetrators of these hate crimes must be brought to justice.”

Police in New York City were still looking for two suspects on Wednesday connected to the alleged hate crimes, who were pictured in a handout calling for assistance identifying those responsible. No arrests have so far been made and The Independent has contacted the department for comment.

“Something is wrong. We’re not doing it right. We’re not dealing with it in a way where it makes a difference,” said former New York assemmbly member Dov Hikind to CBS News, adding that antisemitc attacks were out of control. “We’re just going to continue talking about this and nothing is going to change unless we wake up,”

The attacks in Williamsburg took place on Taylor Street and Lee Avenue and on Roebling Street between Division and Lee Avenues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,