A 63-year-old man was attacked in Central Park, New York on Wednesday (December 14) in what the New York Police Department is calling an antisemitic incident.
The victim was strolling in the park when he was ambushed from behind by a man in his mid-40s. As a result of the attack, the victim fell and suffered wounds, including a broken hand and a chipped tooth. The suspect reportedly yelled antisemitic slurs at the victim, as well as “Kanye 2024,” before escaping on a bicycle with a trailer attached and a sign that read: “Hungry Disabled.”
Scott Richman, who heads up the New York/New Jersey division of the Anti-Defamation League in New York/New Jersey, told CNN Ye’s antisemitic rants have emboldened people to commit crimes against Jewish people.
“When public figures with huge platforms fan the flames of antisemitism, people will copy it and begin to think it’s normal,” Richman told the outlet.
The victim is in stable condition, and the suspect is still at large.
Officers are asking for the public’s help in identifying the assailant, who is described as a light-complexioned man wearing a brown jacket, multi-colored hat, beige pants and white sneakers. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
According to ABC7 New York, there was a 70 percent increase in hate crimes in New York City last month compared to the same month the previous year, with a particularly high increase in antisemitic attacks, which rose by 125 percent. The NYPD released data showing there were 45 hate crimes motivated by antisemitism in November, compared to 20 in November 2021.
Antisemitic hate crimes have been rising throughout the year, with concerns about racism on social media being cited as a contributing factor. Mayor Eric Adams has pointed to social media as a major spreader of hate, while Richman has noted social media allows both good and bad voices to be heard and allows haters to find others with similar hateful views.
Kanye West has faced widespread condemnation for praising Adolf Hitler and making antisemitic comments during recent interviews. During one shocking conversation with far-right radio commentator Alex Jones of Infowars, West stated he sees “good things about Hitler also” and launched into an antisemitic tirade, stating “every human being has something of value that they brought to the table – especially Hitler.”
In response, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, described West’s comments as “vicious,” while the Republican Jewish Coalition “vehemently condemned” the rapper and called on political leaders to “reject these messengers of hate.”
Ye has faced criticism over the past two months for making several offensive comments about Jewish people on social media and in interviews. As a result, Adidas and Creative Artists Agency have both severed ties with him, among others.