At least eight separate attacks in New York City this past week involved suspected anti-Semitism — including one on Christmas Day that had not been previously reported, the NYPD said Saturday.
In the one on Christmas, a 40-year-old man told the police he was walking just after 1 a.m. in Brooklyn while wearing Jewish religious garb when a stranger punched him in the face, causing a lip gash, and fled, according to NYPD spokeswoman Det. Sophia Mason.
The attacks, mostly in Brooklyn neighborhoods with large concentrations of religious Jews, have involved victims being punched, slapped, and doused with liquid. At the headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch in Crown Heights, police said the organization was threatened by a man who came into the building. He’s not been arrested.
Hate crimes in New York City are up — mostly driven by anti-Semitic incidents, according to the department.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said earlier this month that there had been a 22% increase in anti-Semitic crimes this year, though most were not physical violence but vandalism like swastika graffiti.
Shea's disclosure came in the days after armed assailants burst into a kosher supermarket in Jersey City on Dec. 10, an attack that left dead three bystanders and a police officer who was shot just before.
In many of the reported attacks from this week, the assailants have used anti-Semitic slurs. The victims have been men, women, teens and young children. There have been arrests in three of the eight cases, according to Mason.
Not all of the attacks were in Jewish areas. On Monday, blocks from Grand Central, a 65-year-old man told the police that he was punched and kicked by a 28-year-old man from Florida, later arrested, who made anti-Semitic slurs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to add more police officers to patrol, deter and catch attackers, especially in Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Crown Heights, Borough Park and Williamsburg,
“Anyone who terrorizes our Jewish community WILL face justice,” his account tweeted Friday.
In a written statement issued Saturday, when six of the attacks had been publicly reported, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said: "The cowards responsible for these despicable attacks are trying to inject fear into our Jewish communities, but New Yorkers will always band together and categorically reject anti-Semitism whenever it rears its ugly head. New York will continue to light the way for hope and acceptance, especially in the darkest of times, and we will be more united than ever before."