A Brooklyn man charged in beating a Jewish man in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday told a jailer he would "do it again," prosecutors claim.
Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was held on a $10,000 bail after allegedly punching, kicking, and pepper-spraying Joseph Borgen, 29, Breitbart reported. According to a prosecutor present at Awawdeh's arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, Awawdeh reportedly told the jailer "if I could do it again, I would do it again. I have no problem doing it again."
According to ABC 7, Awawdeh was charged with assault as a hate crime, gang assault, menacing, aggravated harassment as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a weapon.
"The incident occurred amid dueling demonstrations over the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group ruling the Gaza Strip," ABC 7 reported. "Pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters both took to the streets of Midtown Manhattan on Thursday evening, as a mutual cease-fire went into effect. At times, the two groups collided and fights broke out."
Prosecutors told Judge Kathryn Paek that Borgen was walking when Awawdeh, unprovoked, "jumped him and attacked him." The Manhattan assistant district attorney accused Awawdeh of calling Borgen a "dirty Jew" and saying, "F**k Israel, Hamas is going to kill all of you."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in investigating such attacks, saying "justice needs to be done," ABC 7 reported.
"I unequivocally condemn these brutal attacks on visibly Jewish New Yorkers and we will not tolerate anti-Semitic violent gang harassment and intimidation," the governor wrote in a statement Friday. "New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world. This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds, and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack "absolutely disgusting and unacceptable," and said police have reinforced synagogues, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and other Jewish sites in the city.
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