Driver Tries to Kill Rabbi and Students in New York 

gary718 /
gary718 /

As pro-Palestinian groups continue protests at college campuses nationwide, other sickening incidents across the nation prove that antisemitism is alive and well in the United States. 58-year-old Asghar Ali attempted to run over a rabbi and several Jewish students midmorning on Wednesday as they walked along a sidewalk outside of their yeshiva (school). 

Cameras show Ali veering onto the sidewalk in a deliberate attempt to strike and harm the group. Ali drove around the block when his first strike failed and tried again. Failing to injure his targets the second time, Ali fled the scene and was found by law enforcement officers. According to the NYPD, Ali continued to hurl antisemitic insults as he was arrested. 

Ali has been charged with multiple counts, including several hate crimes, vehicular assault, reckless driving, aggravated harassment, menacing, attempted murder, and reckless endangerment. 

Earlier this month, the U.S. House approved the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which seeks to combat antisemitism on college campuses by broadening the legal definition of antisemitism to enforce anti-discrimination laws better. 

But many wonder if the AAA goes far enough. This latest incident proves that rabid antisemitism runs rampant not only on college campuses but also across the country. 

The incident sent shockwaves through New York, prompting responses from elected officials in the state. Governor Kathy Hochul took to social media to say that hate crimes “have no place in New York” and that Ali would face prosecution to “the full extent of the law.”  New York Attorney General Letitia James also weighed in on social media, stating that residents should not be afraid they might lose their lives because of “who they are,” adding that all New Yorkers should feel safe. 

New York Mayor Eric Adams said at a Jewish heritage event on Wednesday that the protests are signs that radicalization is growing among young Americans and pointed out that the same generation is being taught to “hate America.”  

But the Israeli/Hamas conflict is revealing global antisemitism, with incidents occurring in other countries as well. In early May, a plot for a knife attack at a Heidelberg, Germany synagogue was revealed. Two men, aged 24 and 18, were arrested for discussions about their plans to kill worshippers in the synagogue before allowing themselves to “become martyrs” at the hands of responding police. 

Police discovered the plot on May 3 while searching the home of the older suspect. During the search, an officer shot and injured the suspect after he grabbed a knife. Authorities reported that evidence seized included online messages exchanged between the two suspects in April, in which they discussed a potential attack on the synagogue. The unnamed suspects were German citizens, with the younger of the two holding dual citizenship in Türkiye. 

Antisemitic behavior was already on the rise even before Hamas’ brutal October 2023 attack on Israeli citizens as they attended a music festival. Before the conflict, nearly 60% of all hate crimes in the U.S. targeting religion in the U.S. in 2020 were against Jews. While the number of antisemitic hate crimes decreased from 953 in 2019 to 676 in 2020, they still constituted the majority of religious hate crimes. 

New York City police reported 80 anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2021, up from 62 during the same period the previous year, and were forced to increase patrols in Jewish neighborhoods, particularly those with orthodox communities. In the US, nearly 60% of all hate crimes targeting religion in 2020 were against Jews. While the number of antisemitic hate crimes decreased from 953 to 676 between 2019 and 2020, they still constituted the majority of religious hate crimes. 

Globally, in 2020, Jewish people faced harassment in 94 countries, including verbal and physical assaults, vandalism of cemeteries, and being scapegoated for the COVID-19 pandemic.  

During the 11-day Israel-Gaza crisis in May 2021, there was a notable increase in anti-Semitic incidents. These included a daylight brawl in New York City’s Times Square, physical attacks on outdoor diners in Los Angeles by a group carrying Palestinian flags, violence against orthodox Jews in New York City, and Nazi symbols posted on a synagogue in Alaska. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) noted a 75% increase in reports of anti-Semitism after the conflict began, with incidents rising from 127 to 222 in just two weeks.  

The United States, once a haven for Jewish refugees fleeing persecution, has become the very hotbed of discrimination they once sought to escape. This has become the defining moment of Biden’s failed presidency, and as long as the administration continues to encourage antisemitism, Jews will never be safe here again.