NYC Jewish Man Assaulted During Pro-Palestinian Protest

Video of the assault circulated on social media. Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arrested and charged in connection the attack.
May 21, 2021
screenshot from video

A Jewish man was assaulted during a pro-Palestinian protest in New York City on May 20. The victim has been identified as Joseph Borgin, 29, who was hospitalized for minor injuries. Video of the assault circulated on social media. Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was arrested and charged in connection the attack.




Borgin told Fox 5 that the protesters were punching and kicking him as well as using their flag poles and crutches to attack him. “The hate the people who attacked me in their eyes was just amazing to me. To pepper spray and mace someone on the ground for a like minute or two after the fact, who even comes up with something like that? It’s so inhumane.”

Borgin’s father, Barry, told The Daily Caller that Borgin “was going to a pro-Israel rally and wearing his yarmulke and he got ambushed, they climbed out of a van and basically pounded him into the street.” He added that “it’s open season on Jews.”

Also during the May 19 demonstration, two fireworks were thrown from a vehicle, causing a woman to sustain minor burns, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The matter is being investigated as a possible hate crime.


Other videos circulating on social media showed pro-Palestinian demonstrators shouting “F— you Zionists” and harassing Jews on the streets and sitting in restaurants.

Jewish groups condemned what took place during the demonstration.

“This level of vitriol and hatred is outrageous and it must stop now,” Anti-Defamation League New York / New Jersey Regional Director Scott Richman said in a statement. “Scapegoating, blaming, and harming Jewish people on the streets of New York City for the current crisis in Israel does nothing but increase division, stoke hatred, and create fear. The increase in antisemitic incidents we have seen in the past week has been truly disturbing. This violence solves nothing and it must end now. We thank the [New York Police Department] for investigating these incidents.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “We are horrified by reports that Jews were attacked with firebombs on the streets of New York by pro-Palestinian activists. There can be zero tolerance for antisemitism in [New York City].”


Stop Antisemitism also tweeted, “We’re disgusted this is what one of the greatest cities in the world has turned into under the leaderships of @NYCMayor @NYGovCuomo.”

Evan R. Bernstein, CEO and national director of Community Security Service, said in a statement, “The scope and imagery of anti-Jewish animus that has flooded our social media feeds as our friends and family in Israel were forced to either stay in or run to bomb shelters during the past week — not only in cities across the U.S. but across the globe — sends a clear and stark message to Jewish communal leadership: Security for our institutions must be prioritized.”

He added that the recent antisemitic incidents “shows that we have much work to do in ensuring our safety. We need more eyes and ears on the ground and call on the affiliated and unaffiliated to help fulfil our critical mission to protect our community. The latest data on antisemitism and hate crimes against the Jewish community warrants a worldview shift on security.”

New York politicians also denounced the incidents. “I unequivocally condemn these brutal attacks on visibly Jewish New Yorkers and we will not tolerate anti-Semitic violent gang harassment and intimidation,” Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement. He added that “those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence” and that the New York State Police Hate Crimes will help investigate the attacks.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio similarly tweeted, “The anti-Semitism were seeing across our country isn’t in isolation and isn’t just a few incidents. It’s part of a horrible and consistent pattern. History teaches us we ignore that pattern at our own peril. We have to stand up to it. We have to call it out.”

Representative Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) tweeted, “I am appalled by the outbreak of antisemitic vitriol and violence. The incitement of hate puts lives at risk. The time has come to lower the political temperature.”

Representative Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) also tweeted, “Antisemitism needs to be singularly & unequivocally ID’ed, confronted, & eradicated. The horrifying scene in NYC, where Hamas sympathizers resort to violence, burn Israeli flags, display blatant antisemitism & throw fireworks into crowds, isn’t an isolated incident.”


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