A 28-year-old man who punched a Jewish New Yorker in the face for wearing an IDF sweatshirt was sentenced to 60 days in jail in a Brooklyn courtroom after pleading guilty to a hate crime, Hamodia reported.
The incident occurred in Brooklyn in December 2021. The assailant, Suleiman Othman of Staten Island, was charged with third degree assault as a hate crime and aggravated assault as a hate crime.
Blake Zavadsky and his friend Ilan Kaganovich, both 21-year-old college students, were in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn in front of a Foot Locker when they were approached by two men, one of whom police 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.”
Othman was unrepentant at the courthouse on Tuesday, according to Hamodia, wearing a Palestinian Arab keffiyeh and telling one of the news outlet’s reporters, “Justice for Shireen Abu Akleh,” in references to the Palestinian-American journalist killed last year while covering clashes between IDF troops and terrorists in Jenin.
Zavadsky told Hamodia that he was satisfied with the outcome of the case.
“I’m extremely happy that he’ll be serving time – he got what he deserves,” he said.
Othman will receive a formal sentence in September.