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I recall a 1980s quote from an African American lady who said when she hears footsteps coming up behind her in an alley at night, turning back to see a group of Orthodox Jews is a big relief—compared with the alternative in her neighborhood.
I’m sure you’ve heard a version of this story at some point. This is because it’s well known that there’s no such thing as gangs of Haredi Jews beating up helpless old ladies and running off with their Social security checks.
That’s not to say that Haredi Jews are strangers to violence. There’s been plenty of Haredi-on-Haredi nastiness, in Brooklyn, in New Square, and in Beit Shemesh. And there have been cases in which non-Jewish suspects received rough treatment from Haredim in mixed neighborhood.
What I’ve never seen Haredim perpetrate, in my almost 40 years of following Jewish News in New York City, is the kind of random, vicious violence we’ve grown to associate with groups of black teenagers, notably the “wilding” of the early 90s and the current “knockout game.”
When Haredim engage in violence, it’s always, without exception, unequivocally, for a reason. It could be a repugnant reason, for sure, but I’ve never read or heard about random Haredi violence.
So, what happened on Sunday, Dec. 1 that provoked the alleged Haredi outpouring of violence that resulted in serious bodily injury to one Taj Patterson, 22, on a street corner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 4:00 in the morning?
I’m asking this, because I refuse to believe the emerging version of events that paints a picture of a gang of Hasidim wilding in the streets just before dawn, spotting an innocent black victim and brutalizing him, while also using anti-homosexual slurs.
Here’s the Daily News account:
Patterson, 22, claims he was on his way home to Fort Greene when more than a dozen Orthodox Jewish men jumped him at Flushing Ave. near Spencer St. at about 4 a.m. and started punching and kicking him.
“Stay down, f—-t!” they hollered, according to Patterson.
But I could be proven wrong. All one has to do is review the ample stack of pictures taken of the event by the bystanders. Here’s the News account:
The brutes then tried to mow down onlookers taking pictures of their vehicles, witnesses said.
“One of [them] tried to hit me,” said witness Mariano Ortiz, 33, who handed over a photo of a license plate to investigators.
So Ortiz stands in the crowd, taking pictures of the beating, then of the car trying to mow him down for taking the pictures – they must be some pretty incriminating pictures. If I had those pictures, I would sell them to some news outlet, for sure. I would plaster them across the Internet, so folks would point out where these vicious Haredi thugs are hiding.
We get, again and again, giant photos of the victim, with the black eye and the torn skin, but not a single image of the attack.
we get reports of pictures being snapped all over the place. we get reports of the attackers wearing “Shomrim” jackets. Shomrim are neighborhood watch groups. In the past they’ve been accused of excessive brutality against suspects. I would believe a story about a black guy misbehaving—Patterson was so drunk, according to the Daily News, it took the police days to piece his complaint together. Like I said, when provoked, or when they think they’re being provoked, Haredim have been known to strike, with gusto.
But all we have, after almost two weeks, is innuendo. And the media continue to be flooded with the trifecta of innuendo: Hasidim (which is goyspeak for Haredim), violence, and allegedly.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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