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All New York district attorneys vow full prosecution of hate crimes amid rising antisemitism

More than 1,200 antisemitic incidents were recorded last year in New York, home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel

In a rare joint statement on Tuesday, New York’s attorney general and the district attorneys from all 62 counties condemned the recent increase in antisemitic incidents and reiterated their commitment to public safety.

“We support the rights of all New Yorkers to lawfully and peacefully gather and protest,” the prosecutors said in a statement, “but we want to reassure all communities, including Jewish ones, that we will understand the fear, and pledge to investigate and prosecute all hate crimes and acts of violence or threats of violence based on the facts and to the fullest extent possible under the law.”

New York, which has the largest concentration of Jews outside of Israel, had the second-most recorded antisemitic incidents among states — 1,218 — last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League. And antisemitism has spiked since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks and the subsequent Israeli military campaign in Gaza. These have included physical assaults, death threats and verbal harassment, particularly in Jewish neighborhoods and on college campuses.

Last week, pro-Palestinian activists defaced the home of the Brooklyn Museum director, who is Jewish, and members of the museum board. It came on the heels of a protest outside an exhibit in Manhattan honoring the victims of the Nova Music Festival. Both incidents drew strong condemnation from local and national politicians.

Prosecutors have been actively pursuing several cases that occurred in the weeks following the Oct. 7 attack, including an incident where a suspect punched an Israeli near Times Square while yelling antisemitic slurs. Another case involved a 19-year-old charged with assaulting an Israeli student with a stick on the Columbia University campus as he hung up posters of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas. Last month, a man was arrested and charged with hate crimes for allegedly driving his car toward Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.

“These acts have left large segments of our communities — both Jews and non-Jews — scared for their safety and that of their families and neighbors,” the district attorneys said. “No New Yorker should fear for their safety for any reason, and especially because of who they are.”

The statement was spearheaded by Westchester County DA Miriam Rocah and Queens DA Melinda Katz, who are both Jewish, in collaboration with New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

Rocah, elected in 2020, announced earlier this year that she will not seek reelection for a second term this fall, saying the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre in Israel has “profoundly and personally” impacted her in ways she didn’t expect.

Read the full statement here

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