October 15, 2019

Chasidic Rabbi Assaulted in NY Speaks Out: ‘It Was Hate’

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Avraham Gopin, the 63-year-old New York Chasidic rabbi who was assaulted on Aug. 27, told CBS New York on Aug. 28 that the attack was clearly an act of “hate.”

Gopin said that the assault took place at Lincoln Terrace Park in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, where the assailant threw rocks at his face and then jumped on him, punching him “20, 25, 30 times.” Gopin fought back and eventually the assailant fled.

“It was hate,” Gopin said. “He said, ‘Jew, Jew.’ He said something in that direction… he was for certain looking to kill. No doubt about [that].”

He added that the fact that he survived the attack a “miracle from God,” saying that he will still go to the park with his family. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Aug. 27, “The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating this despicable act of violence, and we will find the attacker. This city will stop at nothing to protect our communities from hate and violence.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that Gopin’s assault is “the latest in a really disturbing pattern of violence & harassment directed at Jews in Brooklyn. We need action before more people get hurt.”

CBS New York notes that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has recorded 145 complaints of anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2019; there were 88 such complaints in 2018. The NYPD has recorded 19 official anti-Semitic hate crimes so far in 2019; the NYPD recorded 33 the year prior.

Forward Editor Avital Chizik-Goldschmidt wrote in an Aug. 28 op-ed that the city hasn’t taken “any real action” outside of “tweets and press releases” to stop the ongoing hate crimes against Jews.

“Is it because they do not see Orthodox Jews as real Americans, as citizens deserving of the right to live safely in their communities?” Chizik-Goldschmidt wrote. “Are we too ‘other,’ too ‘apart,’ ‘disloyal,’ to earn the privilege of peaceful existence? Is it because we are politically inconvenient? If the perpetrator wasn’t a white supremacist who voted for [President Donald] Trump, then it didn’t really happen, did it?”

Chizik-Goldschmidt added that it’s time to “put political affiliations aside, and focus on the fact that in broad daylight, innocent Orthodox Jews are getting attacked — while politicians sit idly by. Our secular brethren may walk in the street and have the luxury of blending into the crowd, as anonymous New Yorkers, but we wear our identities on our sleeves. And this puts us at the very front lines of anti-Semitism in the United States today.”