New York City police charged three youths with throwing a rock at a kipa-wearing Jewish man and threatening him on Staten Island on Sunday.
Police did not release the name of the Jewish man, a doctor, who they said was assaulted a few blocks from the Young Israel of Staten Island in the Meiers Corners neighborhood.
Kareen Cook, 17, of Staten Island, was charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon, police said. The two other people arrested, both 15, are being tried as juveniles; their names were not released.
“If the reports are accurate, this incident is terribly disturbing because it was clearly motivated by anti-Semitic animus, and particularly troubling due to the young age of the assailants,” Evan Bernstein, New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “Members of the Staten Island Jewish community — as well as members of the borough’s community at large — should never have to fear walking in their own neighborhood.
The borough has witnessed an increase in the last year of such anti-Semitic incidents as name-calling and graffiti on Jewish buildings, said Scott Maurer, CEO of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island. “We have a lot of incidents,” he said. “It’s becoming prevalent. I’m assuming it’s because of the things going on in Israel,” an allusion to last summer’s fighting in Gaza that has led to an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in many countries.
Maurer said the anti-Semitic incidents on Staten Island are usually the work of “teenagers,” but he declined to say if a particular ethnic group is responsible for most of them. “We don’t catch a lot of them,” he said.
Police on Staten Island regularly consult with the borough’s Jewish leadership and have maintained steady patrols of Jewish sites since the increase in anti-Semitic incidents began, Maurer told The Jewish Week. “They are always present. They certainly do the right job,” he said.
According to the ADL’s Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, 14 anti-Semitic incidents were reported on Staten Island in 2014.