New York subway antisemitic attacker indicted for hate crime

The accused, 38-year-old Zarinah Ali, pleaded not guilty.

Gavel lying in front of a judge (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Gavel lying in front of a judge
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A woman in New York was indicted by a grand jury on hate crime charges for an antisemitic attack against a Jewish man and an Israeli student on the New York subway in December 2019, Algemeiner reported.
The accused, 38-year-old Zarinah Ali, pleaded not guilty.
In the incident in question, Israeli student Lihi Aharon got on the subway after her college’s induction ceremony and asked if Ali could move her bags so that she could sit down. When Ali refused, Aharon sat next to a man wearing a kippah. Following this Ali began shouting at the Jewish man, which Ali began to record on her phone.
“It’s in the Koran, where they curse the serpent Jew, you wouldn’t believe,” Ali is heard saying in the video. “You f**king nasty a** Jew. You nasty motherf**ker. You a nasty a** motherf**ker, you stink. You f**king stinkin’ a** Jew," and claimed that the shooters at the Jersey City supermarket shooting should have killed more Jews.
When she saw Aharon was recording, she attacked, trying to grab her phone and badly scratching her face.
According to Algemeiner, Aharon retains a scar on her face from the incident.
“I still bear the physical and emotional scars from my attack, and I expect they will be with me for many years to come,” Aharon said in a statement, according to Algemeiner. “Today, at least I can feel satisfied that my attacker will be held responsible for her actions and I hope that my experience may help bring this type of hatred to light.”
In another statement, Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, a legal NGO that is representing Aharon pro bono, said that “At a time of grave crisis for the Jewish people, this indictment sends a strong message that violence against us will not go unnoticed and will not go unpunished.”
The Lawfare project is representing Aharon along with co-counsel Kenneth Belkin of Spodek Law Group. The two have partnered together to provide pro-bono counsel to victims of antisemitic hate crimes in New York.
“Thank you to the Manhattan DA and the Grand Jury for doing their part to ensure this violent antisemitic attack will be prosecuted as a hate crime. There is no excuse for an act of hatred to be left unanswered. We look forward to the trial and continuing to fight for justice in this case,” said Kenneth Belkin, Attorney at Law, Spodek Law Group.
At the end of December 2019, The Lawfare Project said that they would offer pro-bono legal council to victims of antisemitic assault. This was due to the increasing rise in antisemitic incidents in the US, especially the several antisemitic assaults that took place over Hanukkah in the New York area.
Rachel Wolf and Aaron Reich contributed to this report.