President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday condemned recent attacks toward the Jewish community after several Jewish people were targeted in cities across the US and abroad as tensions flare over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad — it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor,” Biden tweeted Monday.
Harris added later: “The surge in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community in the U.S. and around the world is despicable—it must be called out, condemned, and stopped. As a country, we must stand united against hate of any kind.”
Authorities are investigating assaults on Jewish people in New York and Los Angeles that have taken place amid days of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza that left hundreds of people dead, most of them Palestinians.
The New York Police Department is stepping up its presence in New York City’s Jewish communities following two anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood on Saturday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday, two teenagers aged 18 and 17 were approached by two men who “demanded that the victims repeat anti-Jewish statements,” according to an NYPD statement. When the victims refused, one of the men put the 17-year-old in a “rear chokehold,” the department said, adding that one attacker also chased the victims while “brandishing a baseball bat” as they ran away. The alleged attackers fled in a blue Toyota Camry, according to police.
Within the same hour that evening, three male occupants of a blue Toyota Camry began “to yell anti-Jewish statements” toward four male victims in front of a nearby synagogue, the NYPD said in another statement.
Last week, a man was arrested after a 29-year-old Jewish man was punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed Thursday during an incident in New York’s Times Square, CNN previously reported. The assault involved about five to six men who allegedly yelled anti-Semitic statements, CNN reported.
The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force tweeted that it is investigating the incident and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating an altercation last week near Hollywood in which witnesses said Jewish people dining at a restaurant were targeted by a group of pro-Palestinian men driving past in vehicles. The LAPD is treating the incident as a possible hate crime.
A woman who said she was dining at the restaurant told CNN that the people in the cars began throwing bottles at the group and yelled anti-Semitic slurs, including the words “dirty Jew.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti condemned the attack and said the city would meet the incident “with a full force of law.”
“Our police department together with our sheriff’s department, our FBI, and other partners is rightly investigating this assault as a hate crime,” he said.
Last week, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a ceasefire after more than a week of conflict. Over 11 days, the Israel Defense Forces carried out a devastating aerial bombardment of Gaza, while Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza. At least 12 people in Israel, including two children, were killed as a result of Palestinian militant fire, according to the IDF and Israel’s emergency service.
Biden last week touted the ceasefire and credited his administration’s own “quiet and relentless diplomacy,” along with efforts by Egypt, in arriving at the agreement.