Jewish man punched, given black eye in Brooklyn for wearing IDF shirt

Blake Zavadasky was walking with his friend Ilan Kaganovich when they were accosted by antisemitic attackers.

 East Midwood Jewish Center in Brooklyn, New York. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
East Midwood Jewish Center in Brooklyn, New York.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Two Jewish men, one of whom was wearing an IDF sweatshirt, were attacked in Brooklyn on Sunday, the New York Post reported.

Blake Zavadsky and Ilan Kaganovich were in a shoe shop in the city when two attackers accosted them.

“They asked us what we were doing in their neighborhood,” Zavadsky told the Post.

Zavadsky was the one wearing the sweatshirt, and he said that one of the attackers punched him, telling him that if he didn’t take it off, he would “rock him.” When he refused, he got punched again and doused with iced coffee. The two attackers also reportedly threatened Kaganovich, saying if he got involved they would hurt him, too

Zavadsky said the man who punched him asked him how he can support “these dirty Jews.”

An NYPD car. (credit: REUTERS)An NYPD car. (credit: REUTERS)

“I cannot believe this happened,” Kaganovich told the Post. “We should be able to wear whatever we want to wear.

“Blake and I are Jewish. We should support Israel without it being a problem. My family moved from the Soviet Union for this reason, to be able to live a better life.”

Zavadsky said he intends to continue to wear his sweatshirt in public.

“You cannot be scared to walk outside and say you’re Jewish,” he said. “You have to be proud of who you are and stand up for what you believe and not be intimidated.”

The attackers have not yet been identified, but the NYPD is looking at the assault as a hate crime, according to the Post.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul took to Twitter to condemn the incident.

“Yesterday, two Jewish men were verbally and physically attacked in Brooklyn,” she wrote. “This is abhorrent and unacceptable. Antisemitism and all hate has no home in New York. The Hate Crimes Task Force is assisting in the investigation and we’re ready to offer additional support.