New York City police have arrested a 27-year old man suspected of being behind the antisemitic assault of a Jewish man in December who was wearing an IDF sweatshirt.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit said in a statement on Tuesday that they had charged Suleiman Othman, 27, of Staten Island with third degree assault as a hate crime and aggravated assault as a hate crime.
The assault occurred on December 26 in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn in front of a Foot Locker. Blake Zavadsky and his friend Ilan Kaganovich were approached by two men, one of whom police have identified as Othman. They were called “dirty Jews” and then Zavadksy was allegedly punched twice in the face by Othman for sporting an IDF sweatshirt after being told “You have five seconds to take off that sweatshirt or I’ll rock you.”
Iced coffee was also thrown on Zavadksy’s sweatshirt.
Speaking about the attack, Kaganovich told the New York Post that his family had “moved from the Soviet Union for this reason – to be able to live a better life.”
“Blake and I are Jewish – we should support Israel without it being a problem,” he said.
“You can’t be scared to walk outside and say you’re Jewish,” Zavadsky added. “You have to be proud of who you are and stand up for what you believe – and not be intimidated. Now all we have to do is spread the word and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”