UK Jewish activist murdered in US

Criminal attack leaves Alan Senitt, 27, with throat slashed in D.C. suburb.

knife 88 (photo credit: )
knife 88
(photo credit: )
A British activist against anti-Semitism, an aspiring politician who came to the United States to work in politics, was killed in the wealthy Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., by robbers who slashed his throat and tried to rape his female companion, police reported. Within three hours of the attack early Sunday, police arrested and charged two men, and two other suspects surrendered to police a few hours later. The four suspects, including a 15-year-old boy, were to appear in court Monday.
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Three assailants stabbed and slashed the throat of Alan Senitt, 27, as he and the woman returned home from a movie, police said. Senitt, a Jewish activist dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, had moved to Washington last month to volunteer for former Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner's potential presidential campaign and to study US-style political fundraising. He had worked for Greville Janner, a member of Britain's House of Lords from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party. He also was twice elected head of the Union of Jewish Students, which represents 5,000 college students in Britain, and ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in a London neighborhood. Janner, vice president of the World Jewish Congress, said he had worked with Senitt for a year and found him "very bright, very hardworking." "He was a delight to work with, and this is a terrible tragedy to a young man reaching his prime. He was an outstanding young man," Janner said. In May, Senitt was a losing Labor candidate for a seat on Barnet Council in north London. Alison Moore, leader of Barnet Council and a Labor member, said Senitt was a "very nice, self-contained, hardworking young man." The Board of Deputies of British Jews issued a statement expressing shock at Senitt's death. "Alan was an outstanding example of the passionate and committed involvement of our student leadership in our community and our support of Israel," the statement said. Britain's Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks mourned the death of "a wonderful young man, a natural leader, and one of the most impressive individuals to have emerged from our student community in recent years." "His smile, his infectious enthusiasm, and his capacity to inspire others were special gifts," Sacks said in a statement issued through his office. "He was a role model. May his memory be a source of blessing and inspiration," Sacks added. Friends said Senitt was committed to a life of public service. "He was a serious contender for mainstream political life," said Danny Stone, a friend who leads the Co-Existence Trust, a group founded by Janner to promote Muslim-Jewish relations. "He was up and coming. He would have been brilliant." The upscale neighborhood where the attack occurred is in an area considered among the safest in Washington, where many of the US capital's power brokers live. Three men armed with a gun and a knife approached the couple and demanded money and valuables, investigators said. One man grabbed the woman and dragged her down a driveway where he tried to pull off her clothes, said Lt. Robert Glover. Two others attacked Senitt. Investigators were looking for possible links to other crimes in the city. Christopher Piper, 25, was charged with felony murder and attempted sexual assault, authorities said. Jeffery Rice, 22, Olivia Miles, 26, and a 15-year-old boy also face murder charges. Police did not identify the boy because he was charged as a juvenile. Senitt's family, including parents Jack and Karen, issued a statement mourning his loss and asked for privacy. "The Jewish community as a whole has lost one of its bright young leaders, and the wider world has lost a champion of peace and goodwill," the statement said.