In an unfortunate rise of anti-Semitic incidents, a Jewish woman was attacked by a stranger vehemently screaming anti-Semitic slurs on a subway in Manhattan. Last Monday evening after work, she boarded a C train at Chambers Street. As reported by the NY Daily News, the assailant got on at 23rd St. around 8 p.m., carrying a pamphlet with a swastika and picture of Adolf Hitler. He was screaming in German, made a ‘Heil Hitler” salute and then approached her. “Very close — an inch from my face — he was yelling at me,” said the victim. “He called me a dirty Jew.” He also yelled, “Heil the Hitler youth”. “And then he shoved me,” said the 25-year old woman. At this point, she was very thankful and lucky that two good Samaritans intervened. “Take a walk”, they told him. The suspect then ran off. “I do not know them — which I think is really cool,” she said of the two men. “It was very reassuring.” The NYPD’s hate crimes task force is said to be investigating, but as the victim said, “This behavior is not OK”.
In a related development, on Saturday, a separate NYC subway car was found to have been defaced with Swastikas, and hate messages such as “Jews belong in the oven” drawn onto advertisements and windows. In a positive turn of events, the commuters on the train unveiled a plan to clean up the hate messages. They found tissues and hand sanitizer, and got to work wiping off the permanent marker graffiti. One of the passengers, Gregory Locke, took to Facebook to retell the heartwarming intervention. As per the NY Post, on Thursday evening, in another incident a passenger found a swastika drawn on a US flag in a northbound B train car. Again, riders took the initiative to cover it in black marker, and wrote “LOVE” across it. “This is what New Yorkers do — we turn hate into love,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding the incident. “That is our message to the nation and to the world. And we won’t back down. Not now, not ever.”
Evelyn Sommer, the Chair of the World Jewish Congress in North America, said, “ We are deeply concerned by these attacks on Jewish and other sites which are intended to instill fear in our community and in those of other minorities. We appreciate the response of local law enforcement in taking these incidents seriously and pursuing those who seek to harass the Jewish community. The quick reaction by New Yorkers who erased the offending graffiti on the subway was both admirable and heartening. The best response to these attacks is to make sure that the perpetrators are swiftly caught and to ensure that our community be constantly vigilant and work with law enforcement so that others may be deterred from perpetrating similar vandalism.”
By Ilana Siyance