A Jewish resident of Staten Island, New York vacationing with his wife and adult son in Las Vegas, was knocked to the ground Monday by a pro-Palestinian stranger who told him “the Jews are not going to exist.” Las Vegas police labeled the attack a simple “battery.”
The encounter took place at a coffee shop, according to 67-year-old emergency medical technician (EMT) Paul Lebowitz, who told NBC4 New York that was wearing a Star of David at the time.
The three tourists stopped for coffee by the MGM Casino, and encountered another family who began a conversation. The other man, who Lebowitz said identified himself as Sam, said he was from Palestine.
“I said, turns out I’m from Palestine also. And we were having an amicable, disagreeing conversation,” Lebowitz told NBC4 New York.
“He said, ‘Your people are not going to exist anymore.’ I said, ‘Hm. Can you tell me what that means, ‘my people,'” Lebowitz said.
“Sam” replied: “The Jews are not going to exist anymore.”
“I said, ‘Let me tell you something — you can Google it yourself, Jews have been around for 5,000 years,'” Lebowitz said.
TOURIST ATTACKED: A visitor from New York says he was knocked to the ground along the Las Vegas Strip in broad daylight on Monday. The victim, Paul Lebowitz, said he was targeted for being Jewish. FOX5's @DrewJAndre spoke with Lebowitz about the incident.https://t.co/pQ8AX2riDP pic.twitter.com/8fOuB15nc1
— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) May 27, 2021
That did not go down very well.
“Sam” yelled out “baby killers!” according to Lebowitz, and then “pushes his hand into my face, pushing me backwards. I fell flat on my head, back part of my head. What a smack on the floor.”
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) May 26, 2021
Lebowitz did not hit back, he told FOX5 WVVU – the man towered over him. His family called 911 but the man was gone by the time police arrived.
The EMT suffered a concussion, he said. “Being a New York City paramedic, I know a hit like that – I can have a bleed inside my brain and I could die.”
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) filed the report as “battery” rather than as a hate crime, despite the antisemitic epithets that accompanied the violence.
“Police report said it was a battery, I said yeah it’s a battery but this is a hate crime,” Lebowitz said. “When I said I’m a proud Jew, that when he hit me. You can’t just say it’s a battery case, it’s a hate crime case.”
Lebowitz was told by police that surveillance camera footage will be used in the investigation.
“I’ve lost my faith that, you know, you can have a Jewish hate crime, and it’s treated like just simple assault,” he told NBC4 New York.