A Jewish group in New York City has begun offering a bounty of $5,000 on
participants in the so-called knockout game in which participants attack
innocent bystanders, attempting to render them unconscious with a blow to the
The game, which has spread nationwide, has resulted in several deaths.
Most of the victims of the attacks in New York have been
The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, an umbrella
organization coordinating activities among various Jewish organizations in the
city, is now “offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the perpetrators of ‘knockout’ attacks,” David Pollock, Director
of Government Relations & Security at the JCRC, told The Jerusalem
The organization, he said, has been in close contact with the New
York Police Department, which he said has increased its patrols in the
neighborhoods in which attacks have occurred.
“The NYPD Hate Crimes Task
Force is also addressing school students in Brooklyn neighborhoods that hate
crimes are not a joke that perpetrators of hate crimes could end up ruining
their lives,” Pollock said.
Jewish groups are responding in various ways,
with Rabbi Avi Shafran of the ultra-orthodox Agudath Israel stating that his
organization is not reacting publicly to the attacks as “it’s widely believed
that the more publicity given to these crimes, the greater the likelihood of
Eli Leidner, a 26 year old hasidic man, was the latest victim
of the game, having been assaulted in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood on
“Two people came at me and the woman hit the front of my
face like this. They just laughed afterwards and ran away, they didn’t say any
words,” the Daily Mail reported Leidner as saying after the attack.
most of the attacks nationwide do not seem to have been aimed at Jews, in New
York that does not seem to be the case.
The attacks bring back memories
for many Brooklyn Jews of the 1991 Crown Heights race riots in which several
Jews were injured and one was murdered after a black child was struck and killed
by a Jewish motorist.
“It seems clear that overwhelmingly here in New
York the victims have been Jewish, there’s no question about that,” New York
State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, himself an orthodox Jew, told CBS.
have New Yorkers who are afraid to walk the streets, afraid to let their kids
walk the in streets because you don’t know who the next victim is going to be.”
The reports of the attacks are “deeply disturbing,” the Anti- Defamation
League’s Evan Bernstein told the Post.
Citing several arrests by the NYPD
in connection with the knockout attacks, Bernstein said that the police are
“diligently working to find the alleged perpetrators of these incidents” in
close consultation with the ADL.
“ADL has offered support to Jewish
community and civic groups in Crown Heights and they have been very receptive to
our effort,” he said.
“These attacks have dislodged the sense of safety
and security that most New Yorkers feel when they walk our streets. The
cowardly assailants often prey on the most vulnerable: Jews and Christians,
Blacks and Whites. There have already been arrests. We want to give the NYPD an
additional tool to stop these crimes as quickly as possible,” JCRC CEO Michael
Miller wrote on his website in explanation of the bounty.
Leaders of the
local African American community have “sent a clear message that random acts of
violence, particularly those based on race or religion, are not acceptable in
society,” Bernstein said.
“ADL’s 2012 Audit of Anti- Semitic Incidents
counted a total of 248 incidents in New York State in 2012, representing a 27
percent increase from 2011. There were 87 incidents reported in the borough of
Brooklyn in 2012.”
One local Jew has indicated that he believes that
force and not just dialogue and collaboration with law enforcement is the
answer. Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, a former police officer and a seventh-degree black
belt, is training Jews in Brooklyn to protect themselves against
Moskowitz, who has said that he learned to fight in a summer camp
run by the extreme Right wing Kach movement, told The New York Post that “If
Jewish kids started fighting back, they wouldn’t get picked on so
The rabbi, who runs a karate dojo in nearby Queens, said that a
few simple self-defense tactics could help potential victims ward off
“If you swing at me, you’re going to get hit back,” Moskowitz
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.