With the undisputed rise in the number of attacks against Jews and spray-painted swastikas, it is disappointing that law enforcement authorities are acting so cautious before officially declaring an attack a “hate crime.”

Incredibly, a video went viral last week showing a man in Williamsburg striking a chassid wearing a shtreimel on the back of his head. The assailant then turns around and runs away. Police, however, said that since no revelatory rant accompanied the assault, they are not treating it as a hate crime without more specific information about the perpetrator.

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Considering the rise in anti-Semitic attacks, it is time for police to start using circumstantial evidence to a greater degree than is the current practice. Surely, it is more likely than not that the current attacks against Jewish-appearing Jews are anti-Semitic in nature. We recognize that statistics only point to probabilities, not certainties, but in this environment, when something looks, sounds, and smells like anti-Semitism, there is no reason to pretend it isn’t.

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