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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Knockout’

NYC Councilwoman-Elect: ‘Knockout’ Triggered by Jewish Success

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

New York City Councilwoman-Elect Lauri Cumbo will be representing a portion of Crown Heights in Brooklyn beginning this January.

Cumbo took on a highly emotionally-charged topic in a long letter she sent to her constituents.  She posted that letter on her Facebook page – it has since been removed but is still available here – in which she discussed her understanding about the origins of what is widely referred to as the “Knockout Game.” Most of the Knockout attacks in New York City have taken place in Crown Heights. The New York City media outlet The Gothamist addressed the issue at length.

Knockout is a crime in which teens, seeking to gain notoriety, attempt to punch into unconsciousness a random victim. There is no theft. The sole goal is to, with a single punch to the head, “knockout” a blameless victim.

In New York City, at least, the victims have been largely, though not exclusively, Jewish.  Virtually all of the perpetrators have been African Americans.

Cumbo explained in her Facebook post that while campaigning in her district this past summer, she heard from many African American and Caribbean residents of a resentment felt towards the other minority in the Crown Heights community – Jews.

That resentment was attributed to “Jewish success” and the sense that “Jewish landlords” will push out their black tenants in favor of Jewish tenants. Cumbo relayed what she heard about this resentment at a town hall meeting about the Blackout problem. She offered that view because, she wrote, it was her view that resentment towards this  “Jewish success” could be at least part of what is fueling the hostility which leads to African American and Caribbean youths engaging in Knockout.

Cumbo goes to some length to declare her own respect for the Jewish people. She explained that pointing out the resentment, for her, is an effort to help to honestly explore the origin of the violent trend. Here is part of Cumbo’s explanation:

I admire the Jewish community immensely. I am particularly inspired by the fact that the Jewish community has not assimilated to the dominant American culture, and has preserved their religious and cultural values while remaining true to themselves. I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains. While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.

Cumbo was not excusing the violent behavior.  But she was resentful that the media attention given to the Knockout events had caused it to become a racially divisive issue.  In part, she blamed a Nov. 26 article in The Jewish Week for that focus on race.

Over the past month many black leaders in Crown Heights and throughout the City of New York have come out squarely, publicly, against the Knockout trend. See the video at the end of this article from a Nov. 18 press conference held by African American community leaders speaking out against the crime.

Cumbo wrote in her public letter that she wanted to play a role in bringing together the different racial groups in her constituency. She said that she wants them to move forward towards a better relationship than what they currently have.  Where she places the blame for the violence is worth noting. This is how she described it:

As an African American woman, this is challenging, because I recognize that it is Black children and not Jewish children that are playing the “Knock Out Game.” Why is this? In many ways governmental neglect, outside uncontrolled influences and failed leadership have led to the breakdown that so many young people of color are currently facing. I feel torn because I feel apart of the very system that has caused the destructive path that so many young people have decided to take while I am simultaneously demanding that they be arrested by that same system.

Former Congressman Eliot Spitzer commented on Cumbo’s Facebook posting.  He was highly supportive. He also mentioned that when Cumbo first thought about running for office he spoke with her about “different issues in the Jewish community.” Five people “liked” Spitzer’s comment – including Spitzer.

Here is the video from the Nov. 18 press conference of African American Crown Heights community leaders condemning – unequivocally – the Knockout violence.

12 Yr Old Jew Not Knockout Victim, Attacker Bullied to Attack Him

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

On Nov. 6, a 12 year old Crown Heights Jewish boy was punched in the face on the streets of Brooklyn. After striking the victim, the attacker and his accomplice ran off.

On Monday, Nov. 25, the perpetrator of the attack was arrested.  The good news: the 12 year old was not the victim of the “Knockout Game.” The bad news: the 12 year old was punched in the face by a 13 year old black boy who was “bullied into assaulting the victim.”

“His friends told him that if he did not hit someone he would not get any respect, and he was repeatedly made fun of until he did,” according to a local news source.

Don’t you feel better?

The 13 year old was charged with assault and aggravated harassment and sent home with his mother to await trial.

Hanukkah, Coney Island, Knockout and Iran

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Years ago, on a perfect Hanukkah day, my brother and I were getting off the Coney Island bumper cars on the way to kosher country, when we heard “Dirty Jews!”

Before having a chance to react in anger or fear, two boys were running full speed away from us.

Knowing they were not running from a 7-year-old in a plaid shirt or his slow moving 11-year-old brother, I imagined that the hand of God had descended from the cyclone. But, spotting a speeding Judah Maccabee chasing down those thugs, to my amazement and some chagrin, the Maccabee was none other than my usually passive intellectual of a dad. He held the boys hard by the collars against the screaming protestations of their own bigger and way meaner looking dad, who was screaming “Let my boys go or else!”

My dad did not budge, finally releasing the two to cops who happened to be walking by.

I learned perseverance and Jewish pride at that moment, but confidence was the day’s greatest lesson. Not the confidence of physical strength, which my dad took no pride in, not confidence in the 1970s NYPD, which did not exist. It was the simple, undeniable yet taken for granted confidence of a proud Jew. We are your equals, we are here, we have a state of our own, so, in NYC parlance, F*** you.

Rewind to a Coney Island before the establishment of the State of Israel, and I’m sure a very different story would have been told: our own collars held by a timid father forcing an apology from his own sons. “We are so sorry for wearing our kippot on the bumper cars thank you for calling us dirty Jews please, feel free to do it again at the Ferris wheel”

Which brings us to the double knockout weekend.

Knockout #1 took place last Friday in Crown Heights, when a religious photo intern got knocked down. “A 100 lb little Jew” as Israel Blizovsky described himself, punched for the fun of it… Ha ha. City Government’s nonchalant response was pretty close to What’s the big deal, you Jews worry too much.

Knockout # 2 took place on the other side of the globe, in the Genteel city of Geneva, where diplomats, not thugs, knocked down Israel a peg or two while dismissing the Jewish State’s existential threat with the same What’s the big deal, you Jews worry too much.

Over thanksgiving and Christmas, let us hope that the nations of the world will continue to support the idea of an independent and secure Jewish nation, a nation that will sometimes be battered, sometimes bruised but with its own pride and the means to always get back up.

As we put our faith in these nations, especially our greatest friend the United States of America, we must remember the central lesson of Hanukkah; never rely on others or on miracles, but when our very existence is in the balance, we must be prepared to fight a lonely battle to victory.

Will ‘Knockout the Jew’ be Labeled Hate Crime in New York? (VIDEO)

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Sucker punching someone on the streets with the goal of knocking out the victim while a friend videos the assault so that you can achieve YouTube notoriety is the trendy crime of the moment known as the “Knockout Game.”  Sometimes it is simply known as “Knockout the Jew” or a “Polar Bear Attack” because the victims are predominantly either Jewish or just Caucasian.

The attacks have been taking place sporadically over the past several years, in cities such as Philadelphia, Syracuse and Washington, D.C.  Three people have died as the result of these attacks.

But in New York City, the numbers of reported attacks has been increasing dramatically recently, with at least seven taking place since October.

In a disproportionate number of those attacks in New York City the victims have been Jewish. Those victims have included a 12 year old boy and a 78 year old woman.  The attacks have taken place in areas of the City with the largest concentrations of Orthodox Jews, such as Borough Park or the Midwood and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn.

Some people, including several Jewish City Council members, are calling for increased penalties for people found guilty of perpetrating the crime. The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke out against the violent trend on Saturday.

“If someone was running around talking about knocking out blacks, we would not be silent,” Sharpton said. “We cannot be silent,” CBS reported.

The New York City Hate Crimes Task Force is involved in investigating the phenomenon.

The attacks have pitted those who believe the matter needs to be downplayed or it will only result in increased “copycat” attacks, and others who are incensed that the attacks are being trivialized as a mere “game” and not a serious crime that has led to entire neighborhoods living in fear.

FRIDAY, NOV. 22 ATTACK

One attack which took place this past Friday, Nov. 22, is important for several reasons.

First, the victim, a 24 year old Orthodox Jewish man, was able to recover quickly from the attack. Second, the alleged perpetrators were quickly apprehended, and third, the individual identified by the victim as the aggressor was charged by the police on Saturday with assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment, according to CBS local news in New York.

However, the District Attorney’s office apparently charged the individual arrested, 28 year old Amrit Marajh of Brooklyn, with misdemeanor assault, harassment and menacing charges.  Marajh was released on $750 bail later the same day. “I didn’t knock out no Jew!” Marajh yelled as he was escorted from the 66th Precinct in Brooklyn following questioning, a website covering New York City criminal information reported.

The victim was walking down 18th Avenue in Borough Park, very early in the morning after leaving work.  He was surrounded by four men and punched in the face. The victim was wearing a kippah.

NYPD officers were nearby in an unmarked police car, commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday afternoon, which is how they were able to apprehend the alleged perpetrators so quickly.

One possible reason given for the seemingly sudden upsurge in the number of attacks is that initially victims were not reporting the attacks as the perpetrators did not steal anything, making it even less likely that they could be apprehended.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has asked anyone who has been victimized by this crime to come forward and report it.

The video is of the 24 year old victim who identified Amrit Marajh as his attacker.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/will-knockout-the-jew-be-labeled-hate-crime-in-new-york-video/2013/11/25/

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