Photo Credit: courtesy NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov via Twitter
At least 100 protesters demonstrate Jan. 2, 2022 against antisemitism in New York after a vicious attack on a young man wearing an IDF sweatshirt in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn a week earlier.

At least 100 protesters were led Sunday by New York City Council member Inna Vernikov and former state assemblyman Dov Hikind in a demonstration against antisemitism in the wake of an attack on a 21-year-old Jewish man last week because he was wearing an IDF shirt.

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Blake Zavadsky and his friend were asked by the assailant why they were in “his” neighborhood.

Zavadsky, who was wearing an IDF sweatshirt while waiting outside a Foot Locker store in Bay Bridge, Brooklyn, was punched twice in the face and had coffee hurled at him after the attacker called them “dirty Jews,” ordering Zavadsky to take off the sweatshirt before hitting him.

New York City Police said the attack is being investigated as a hate crime.

“This is what we ran from – this is why our families brought us to America – and this is exactly what we’re seeing happening in this country again,” lamented Vernikov, the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants. “These boys’ families escaped the [former Soviet Union] precisely because of incidents such as this one. “Jews were beaten, jailed, and ostracized from society just for being Jewish.”

Vernikov represents parts of southern Brooklyn.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul slammed the attack, calling it “abhorrent and unacceptable.” She directed the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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