“Knockout” Attacks Led to Increase in Assaults

New York, NY, April 1, 2014 … The number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York State fell by 18 percent in 2013, according to newly issued statistics from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents counted a total of 203 incidents statewide in 2013 – a decrease from 248 incidents in 2012.

The 203 incidents across New York State included:

  • 146 cases of vandalism – down from 188 in 2012
  • 35 cases of harassment, threats and events – down from 54 in 2012
  • 22 cases of assault – up from 6 in 2012

Once again, New York, while experiencing a decline compared to the previous year, topped the list as the state with the highest number of anti-Jewish incidents.  ADL’s Audit, conducted annually in the United States since 1979, reported a total of 751 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2013 – a 19 percent decline from the 927 incidents reported during the same period in 2012.

“We are pleased to see a decrease in the overall number of anti-Semitic incidents in our state,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “However, the rise of assaults in certain areas of New York City – in particular Brooklyn — is both disturbing and a sobering reminder that anti-Semitism is not just history but remains a current event.”

 

Anti-Semitic Acts by Borough and Region:

 

In the five boroughs of New York City, there were a total of 133 incidents in 2013 including acts of assault, harassment and vandalism, compared to 172 incidents in 2012.  Despite the drop in anti-Semitic incidents across the state, the number of violent anti-Jewish attacks rose in part due to the emergence of the so-called “knockout game,” in which a person or group of people attempt to render a victim unconscious with a single punch to the head – a disturbing phenomenon in which Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn were often the victims.  The increased volume of these attacks in 2013 may be attributed to the amount of ‘knockout’ videos that were posted on social media sites.

Of the 22 cases of anti-Semitic assaults reported in 2013, seven were categorized as “knockout attacks.”

“Although the wave of violence known as the ‘knockout game’ was deeply troubling, particularly because visibly identifiable Jews were among the primary targets, vigorous response by law enforcement and the community to stop and address these attacks was commendable,” said Gregg Mashberg, ADL New York Regional Board Chair.  “The numbers across the state are down; however this does not translate into being any less vigilant in our response than we always have.  203 incidents may seem minute in a large state like New York, but these are 203 incidents that should never have taken place and are all too real to the victims and the community.”

The following includes the total number of anti-Semitic incidents from specific regions:

 

  • Brooklyn – 64
  • Manhattan – 43
  • Queens – 13
  • Bronx – 5
  • Staten Island – 8
  • Long Island – 62
    • Nassau – 26
    • Suffolk – 36
  • Westchester, Rockland County & Upstate – 8

Sampling of Anti-Semitic Incidents Across the State:

Brooklyn:

  • A 12-year-old Jewish girl had a bottle thrown at her by a group of girls, including one who yelled, “You dirty Jew. I’ll get you back. F—, these Jews should leave the neighborhood.” This girl also pulled the victim’s hair and put her in a choke hold before punching her in the back. (June)
  • A 24-year-old Jewish man wearing a yarmulke was attacked by four men in Borough Park as part of the “knockout” game. (November)
  • A 19-year-old Jewish man was the victim of a “knockout” attack and was assaulted by a group of eight teenagers. (November)
  • A 72-year-old Jewish woman was punched in the back of the head while walking in East New York.  She was knocked to the ground and taken to the hospital. (November)
  • A 24-year-old Jewish man was assaulted in Borough Park as part of the “knockout” game.  The perpetrators dared each other to deliver punches. (November)
  • A 78-year-old Jewish woman was punched in the face by a group of teens who were playing the “knockout” game. (November)
  •  A 12-year-old Jewish female was punched in the back of the head near Kingston Avenue and was subsequently out of school for several days. (June)
  • Students from a Yeshiva on Ocean Parkway were walking past an apartment building where there was an individual who shouted “Stupid Jew boys,” at the students.  The individual then walked towards the Yeshiva with a small pipe and was confronted by a parent of one of the students.  The individual pushed the student’s parent and was then subdued by a student until the police arrived. (October)
  • A 55 year-old Jewish male was walking on Eastern Parkway when a large group of males yelled “Dirty Jew” as he went by.  He was then struck with a construction cone from behind and sustained lacerations to his face. (October)

Manhattan:

  • A taxi driver pulled up to a car carrying two Jewish men and threatened them by yelling, “I’m going to kill you, you terrorist Jews.” The driver also wielded a knife. (August)
  • A man held a sign with a swastika and the statement, “Israel much worse than the Nazis” at the “Al Quds Day 2013” rally in Times Square. (August)
  • A Jewish man received a letter at his place of business that had a swastika and the phrase “Die Jew Die.” (December)

Queens:

  • The phrase “Kill Jews” was written on a post outside of a Yeshiva. (June)
  • A two foot swastika was etched onto the driveway of a Jewish Community Center. (October)

Long Island:

  • A swastika and the phrase “Death to the Jews” were scrawled in large red letters in the service corridor of a mall. (January)
  • A swastika and the word “Nazi” was written on a school playground. (May)

Rockland County & Upstate:

  • Two members of a Jewish fraternity in Ithaca woke to find “Heil Hitler,” “666,” and a swastika in dripping red paint defacing their door. (April)
  • A Jewish man in Ramapo was the victim of an attack when three people fired paintballs at him while shouting anti-Semitic expletives. (August)

 

About the ADL Audit

            The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs.  Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported.  This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.  Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NY