New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams on Saturday denounced the beating of a Jewish man in Times Square as part of a “pandemic of hate” that must be nipped in the bud. The Democratic candidate said he was shocked to watch the video of Joseph Borgen, 29, being beaten and pepper-sprayed by pro-Palestinian protesters on Thursday night. “When I saw that video, it struck at the heart of what I expect from New Yorkers,” Adams said. “It really made me think about where we are as a city.” Adams said Borgen was attacked because he is Jewish “and that is unacceptable.”
Borgen, 29, of Long Island, said he was heading to a pro-Israel rally when he was set upon at the corner of W. 48th St. and Seventh Ave. He said his attackers shouted slurs at him.
“I didn’t even make it to the rally,” said Borgen to the Daily News on Friday. “I’m definitely shaken up. I’m generally sore and hurt. But I want to say I’m a little thankful, because I saw the video and I could have died.”
Waseem Awawdeh, 23, of Brooklyn, was arrested and charged with hate crime assault, hate crime menacing and aggravated harassment, cops said. More suspects were still being sought Saturday.
A second victim, a Jewish woman, suffered burns to her back when someone tossed fireworks at her from a passing car on W. 47th St. around 6 p.m., cops said.
The attack on protester Melissa Mettle, 55, occurred about 30 minutes earlier and a block south from where Borgen was attacked, and was also under investigation as a hate crime.
Adams framed the attack on Borgen as part of a “pandemic of hate” that has spread from the attacks on Asian New Yorkers to vandalizing synagogues and mosques. The Brooklyn borough president and ex-police captain called for more street cameras to identify the perpetrators of hate crimes and better education for young people. He touted the success of “Breaking Bread, Building Bonds,” a program launched by the Brooklyn borough president’s office to bring New Yorkers of different ethnic and religious groups together over meals. “We found the vaccine for COVID,” Adams said. “The vaccine for hate must come from everyday New Yorkers and everyday Americans.”
Other mayoral candidates, including frontrunner Andrew Yang, condemned the spate of reported hate crimes.
“Hate has no place in New York City. Not today, not ever,” Yang tweeted, “My heart is with the victims and their families. The perpetrators must be found and prosecuted.”
Comptroller Scott Stringer, who trails Yang and Adams in the polls, tweeted, “Violence, anti-semitism and hatred have no place in our city. These actions are despicable, and they must be condemned loudly and forcefully.”
Maya Wiley said in a statement, “The recent attacks against the Jewish community in our city and across the globe are sickening and I wholeheartedly denounce them and stand with the Jewish community.”
Andrew Yang speaking with victims of the anti-Semitic attacks in Boro Park. (Hamodia)
On Sunday, Andrew Yang met with some of the victims of the anti-Semitic verbal attacks in Boro Park over the weekend. Mr. Yang listened as the victims described the events, and how the police seemed to dismiss it as just a threat and not a physical assault. In addition, they reported that there was no noticeable increased police presence as promised when community leaders met with Mayor de Blasio on Friday.
The mayoral candidate assured them that under a Yang administration things would be dealt with with the seriousness that it deserves, and how he would make sure that the increased police presence would be there when needed.
Andrew Yang speaking at the scene of the anti-Semitic attacks on 16th Avenue in Boro Park. (Hamodia)
Updated Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 5:23 pm Yang meets with victims