It Just Keeps Happening: 5 Wounded In Anti-Semitic Attack In New York
Last night, around ten o'clock, five people were wounded at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York — an area with a high population of Orthodox Jews — at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg. Four were stabbed and one was injured in the chaos. This incident is the ninth in a string of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York City area this Hannukah.
A witness, Aron Kohn, 65, who said he was in the rabbi's home at the time, recalled that the rabbi was near the Hanukkah candles when the intruder stormed in.
"I was praying for my life," Mr. Kohn said. "He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn't have time to react at all."
"We saw him pull a knife out of a case," Mr. Kohn said. "It was about the size of a broomstick."
Mr. Kohn said that after the attacker fled, he tried to enter a synagogue next door, Congregation Netzach Yisroel, which is led by Rabbi Rottenberg.
The suspect, 38-year-old Grafton Thomas, was apprehended by police around midnight, and will be charged with five counts of attempted murder. So far, there is nothing to connect Thomas to the victims, and it is assumed that this is yet another act of anti-Semitic terrorism.
Both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio have issued statements decrying this latest stabbing and the recent string of anti-Semitic attacks in the city.
I am horrified by the stabbing of multiple people at a synagogue in Rockland County tonight. We have zero toleranc… https://t.co/Z1JKzPRBST— Andrew Cuomo (@Andrew Cuomo)1577596999.0
We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for al… https://t.co/jnyMaTp8UL— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio)1577595229.0
This should not be happening. People should not have to live like this.
A few things.
The Right is already positively gleeful that the assailant in this case was a black man with a knife instead of a white guy with a gun — and not because if it had been someone with a gun, those five people (and likely more) would be dead now. I'm not going to be linking to any tweets in particular, but they're out there.
They're trying to blame this on "The Squad" — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — falsely claiming that they are all anti-Semitic, despite the fact that 3/4 of them are currently campaigning for Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish.
As overt anti-Semitism has risen on the far right, with the George Soros conspiracy theories and the "Jews will not replace us" chants; as it has become far more difficult to claim, as Milo Yiannopoulos famously did, that this overt anti-Semitism is just a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek reaction to oppressive political correctness, many conservatives have sought to downplay it by making similar claims against the Left.
Yet, while there certainly is anti-Semitism on the Left, it's not quite the same thing that is happening on the Right. The majority of these recent attacks, by the way, have been carried out by Black Hebrew Israelites who — for the record — are not particularly liberal. Hell, the only one I ever knew is now married to a Proud Boy.
To try and take these incidents and use them as a way to "own the libs" is not only inappropriate, it is disrespectful to the victims of this violence. When there's an actual line to be drawn from rhetoric to terroristic action, as there so often is with the rhetoric on the Right, then we can talk.
(Don't worry, we've got a Nice Time coming up for your open thread!)
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse