“People are so burnt out and so not believing in the system that they don’t even make a police report.”
Armin Rosen at Tablet Magazine wrote about increased attacks on Jews in New York City.
In July, four men beat up 31-year-old Yossi Hershkop while his 5-year-old child sat in the backseat of the car. Nothing has happened so far:
In New York, street harassment, minor assaults, and even full-on beatings of visible Jews are almost a banality now, too frequent over too long of a period to be considered an active crisis, even in the communities most affected. The city reported a 76% year-over-year rise in hate crimes during the first three months of 2022—attacks on Jews more than tripled, accounting for much of the spike. When reached for comment by email, the NYPD’s public information office stated that the Hate Crimes Task Force has made 44 arrests related to attacks on Jews so far in 2022 compared to 33 in all of 2021.
The report from Americans Against Antisemitism only dealt with incidents in which the NYPD found enough evidence of a bigoted motive to refer the case to the department’s Hate Crimes Task Force. Not every potential bias-related attack on Jews reaches that threshold, though. In Hershkop’s case, the assailants used no antisemitic language and had no connection to any extremist networks. The question of whether the attackers would have responded with similar brutality to a parking dispute involving a member of any other ethnic or religious group is considered too hypothetical for the New York criminal justice system to handle. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was not involved in investigating the attack on him, Hershkop told me.
Israel Bitton, executive director of Americans Against Antisemitism and one of the co-authors of the report, said the study aimed “to answer a simple question: Are there consequences for anti-Jewish hate crimes?” The document gives a clear answer: “In the majority of trackable cases, prosecution has been effectively nonexistent.” Some unknowable number of the 118 anti-Jewish hate crime suspects whose cases showed up in the state’s WebCrims database since 2018 were sent to state psychiatric institutions for an unknown period of time, instead of being criminally charged, Bitton explained. Fifteen took plea deals, although the study found no evidence that any of these agreements involved jail time. In 23 cases, the charges were dropped. The only conviction was for a relatively high-profile incident, in which the suspect choked and beat a visibly Jewish man in his mid-50s while he walked home from Shabbat day services in Crown Heights.
It broke my heart to learn that so many do not even report crimes:
The Americans Against Antisemitism analysis only refers to incidents that generated police reports and entered the criminal justice system. Some unknowable number of attacks on Jews occur beyond any official awareness. “Most hate crimes are not even reported in the first place,” says Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, and a former power broker in the New York State Assembly.
Hershkop agrees. “Eighty percent never even got to the point of making a police report,” he speculated, referring to Jewish victims of bias incidents. “That’s how we’re artificially hiding hate crimes. People are so burnt out and so not believing in the system that they don’t even make a police report.”
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