Hate Crime Allegations After Graduation Ceremony

StraightNews.org) – The mother of a family attacked at a graduation ceremony in New York insists the incident should be considered a hate crime. It happened at a Brooklyn elementary school and involved an Arab family shouting insults and Palestinian slogans at a Jewish family. Chanting included “free Palestine,” “Gaza is ours,” and “Death to Israel.”

The row quickly became physical, and the Jewish woman’s husband, who is Catholic, was thrown to the ground and punched and kicked as the couple’s 10-year-old twins watched on. “They targeted my family because we are Jewish,” the unnamed mother said. The parents’ 16-year-old son also sustained a bloody nose when he went to his father’s aid.

Educator and Jewish advocate Tova Plaut described the attack as the worst single antisemitic incident to take place in America since the October 7 attack on Israel last year. She said she and others had repeatedly warned that tolerating antisemitic rhetoric was always going to lead to physical violence, and “this has now occurred.”

The Jewish mother, identified only as Lana, explained what happened and said the Arab family’s son, wearing a “Free Palestine” hat, tried to push her family out of the way while photos were taken. She told the son there was plenty of room for everyone, which prompted an older member of the family to shout “free Palestine” in her direction. Eventually, her husband was held in a chokehold as events spiraled out of control.

Lana told reporters that police were not treating the incident as a hate crime because she did not appear obviously Jewish. Nevertheless, when questioned by reporters, NYPD said the hate crime unit is investigating.

Reports in April noted a 45% increase in antisemitic incidents in the Big Apple. The NYPD data revealed 96 instances between January and April this year, compared to 66 for the same period last year. Police Commissioner Edward Caban said officers would increase the protection of synagogues as the “ripple” of October 7 was still felt.

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