Two Jewish men said on Monday they were attacked and called “dirty Jews” in Brooklyn before one of them was punched in the face for sporting an Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt.
The two, Blake Zavadsky and his friend Ilan Kaganovich, both 21, told The New York Post they were at the Foot Locker in Bay Ridge shortly before 11:00 a.m. Sunday when they were allegedly accosted by two attackers.
“They asked us what we were doing in their neighborhood,” Zavadsky said. “They called us ‘dirty Jews.'”
He said they took particular issue with his hoodie that featured the emblem of the IDF.
“The one who punched me said if I don’t take my sweatshirt off, he’s going to rock me,” Zavadsky said.
“‘How can you support these dirty Jews?'” Zavadsky said the man allegedly snarled.
One of the men slugged Zavadsky twice in the face and doused him with iced coffee when he didn’t take off the hoodie, he said.
The two added they were troubled that passersby did not intervene or try to help them.
The NYPD said on Monday the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul denounced the incident on Monday.
“Yesterday, two Jewish men were verbally & physically attacked in Brooklyn. This is abhorrent and unacceptable. Antisemitism & all hate has no home in New York,” she tweeted.
“The New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force is assisting in the investigation & we're ready to offer additional support,” added Hochul.
Last week, the NYPD said that hate crimes committed against Jews and Asians surged in New York City in 2021, with the highest concentration occurring in Manhattan.
Jews remained the most targeted group, with 191 incidents in the last year, a 49 percent increase over 128 occurrences in 2020.
In November, a man assaulted a visibly Jewish pregnant woman in Brooklyn. The 33-year-old woman, who was wearing traditional Hasidic clothing, was approached by a man who was about 40 years old, randomly walked up to the woman and accosted her, opening a juice bottle which he threw at the woman’s face.
In another incident in September, a nine-year old Jewish boy was attacked on a Brooklyn subway platform by a man who physically and verbally assaulted him and asked him “why Israel kills children in Gaza.”