New racial pastime in Crown Heights, Brooklyn: ‘Knock out the Jew’

New racial pastime in Crown Heights, Brooklyn: ‘Knock out the Jew’

Scene in Crown Hheights during 1991 riots
Scene in Crown Heights during 1991 riots

Colin Flaherty has written extensively about the game of Knockout. Calling it a game is to take liberty with that word considering that the object is to punch an unsuspecting stranger in the face with such force as to render him unconscious. The diversion was invented by and remains popular among urban black youth.

Lately, an unseemly variant has cropped up in the Brooklyn community of Crown Heights, best known for the riots that occurred there in 1991 after a black child was accidentally struck and killed by a car carrying a prominent Hasidic rabbi. An ambulance was dispatched to scene by Hatzolah, a company owned and operated by Orthodox Jews, but was ordered away by police concerned that the crowd of black bystanders was growing increasingly hostile. That anger erupted into three days of rioting, vandalism, and looting, culminating with the brutal murder of a Jewish student visiting the neighborhood from Australia.

That racial tensions between the community’s majority black population and minority Orthodox Jewish population remain high manifested itself most recently in an anti-Semitic variant of Knockout that might be called “Knock Out the Jew.” CBS News reports:

The NYPD is looking into a series of attacks on Jews in Brooklyn. At least one attack was caught on surveillance tape.

Some of the assaults may be part of a disturbing game….

Police have yet to connect all the incidents, but released surveillance video that shows one group attacking a Jewish man. The video shows from a few different angles the victim, a man in a hooded jacket, getting punched.

One of the victims was a 12-year-old “dressed in traditional Jewish clothing” who was attacked on Wednesday. His father agreed to appear before the TV cameras but only on condition that his identity be concealed. He told reporters:

One, full strength with his fist, whacked him, punched him, on the side of the face, full force.

As the child went to the ground, he claims he heard a jubilant shouts rise up from the group of five to six teens. “We got him,” one proclaimed.

Another victim, also dressed in traditional Hasidic garb, who was likewise sucker-punched. “He was actually holding an expensive camera,” said Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, who added, “they punched him and nothing was stolen.” The implication — that the attacks are not muggings but pure malice — was echoed Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who insists the victims are being attacked because they are Jews.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reports there “have been a total of eight since September, middle of September.”

The attacks and vandalism are being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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