Man threatens to burn down Queens bagel shop over Israeli flags

Queens is home to an estimated 200,000 of New York City’s staggering 1.1 million Jewish residents.

 Austin Street, the main shopping area in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. Taken by me in the early afternoon on Saturday, December 16, 2006. (photo credit: Masterofzen/Wikimedia Commons)
Austin Street, the main shopping area in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. Taken by me in the early afternoon on Saturday, December 16, 2006.
(photo credit: Masterofzen/Wikimedia Commons)

Shocking security footage captured Wednesday, November 10, showed a New York City man threatening to burn down a Jewish-owned bagel shop over their prominently-displayed Israeli flags, ABC7 NY reported.

The suspect, who appeared to be a young man, walked into “Bagels & Co.” in the New York City borough of Queens Wednesday afternoon, where he started recording his antisemitic tirade on his cellphone.

“Remove those Israeli flags and shut the business down, or I’ll burn the building down,” the suspect demanded after approaching an employee and several diners, police said. He then left the store.

Queens, one of New York City’s five boroughs, has a storied Jewish presence and history – it is even where lies the burial site of one Menachem Mendel Schneerson, otherwise known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Queens is home to an estimated 200,000 of New York City’s staggering 1.1 million Jewish residents, and it is not atypical to see pedestrians dressed in hassidic garb and stores shuttered on Shabbat. 

Flushing, Queens. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Flushing, Queens. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Antisemitic incidents are on the rise in this Jewish hub, however, as anti-Jewish assaults increased by 69% this year, according to NYPD statistics. Just last week, a man from Rockland County (which is approximately six miles from the NY City borough of Bronx) said last Wednesday at a county board meeting about the possibility of building a yeshiva in the area that he would “run over” hassidic Jews.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the threat. Their investigation remains ongoing.