One man is in custody following a brutal attack on a Hanukkah party at a rabbi’s house in the town of Monsey, New York. Five people were stabbed, one critically. Here is the man taken into custody: The attack follows a string of antisemitic assaults in the New York City area over the last week.
The Saturday night stabbings north of New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah come on the heels of a string of attacks targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month. The rabbi’s home is in Monsey, a town not far from the New Jersey state line and one of several in the Hudson Valley that has seen an influx of Hasidic Jews in recent years. The Rockland County town is about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of New York City.
One person was very seriously wounded, the governor told reporters, and remained in critical condition. The rabbi’s son was also injured, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. His status and that of the other victims was not clear.
Cuomo blames “hatred.”
Authorities have not provided a motive for the attack, but Cuomo said it was an example of larger problems.
“This is an intolerant time in our country,” he said to reporters outside the rabbi’s home on Sunday morning. “We see anger, we see hatred exploding.”
He added: “It is an American cancer on the body politic.”
The suspect does not appear to be a white supremacist.
Here are the first images of the suspect arrested in last night’s mass stabbing targeting Orthodox Jews in Monsey, New York. pic.twitter.com/FkPm4ek7ED
— (((AG))) (@AGHamilton29) December 29, 2019
CNN reports that police have a suspect in custody:*
The suspect in a string of stabbings during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s Monsey, New York, home was found with “blood all over him,” a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the case told CNN on Sunday.
Thomas Grafton was driving a Nissan Sentra across the George Washington Bridge into New York City when his car’s tag was captured by a license plate reader about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.
Police apprehended Grafton without incident after midnight, a New York Police Department spokeswoman told CNN earlier Sunday.
Certainly, anti-Semites have been emboldened in recent years as attacks on Jews and Israel from politicians appears to have enabled the cockroaches to crawl out from under the rocks they’ve been hiding. But this is something altogether different.
There has been a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in the area in just the last week.
The attacks, mostly in Brooklyn neighborhoods with large concentrations of religious Jews, have involved victims being punched, slapped, and doused with liquid. At the headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch in Crown Heights, police said the organization was threatened by a man who came into the building. He’s not been arrested.
Hate crimes in New York City are up — mostly driven by anti-Semitic incidents, according to the department.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said earlier this month that there had been a 22% increase in anti-Semitic crimes this year, though most were not physical violence but vandalism like swastika graffiti.
And “bail reform” has set free several of the perpetrators.
Tiffany Harris, a 30-year-old woman charged with punching and cursing three Jewish women in Crown Heights, was arrested on charges of menacing, harassment, and attempted assault. Though she admits to both slapping and cursing her victims, and the current case is not the first time she has committed assault, she was released after a few hours without prosecutors even requesting bail.
“So I’m releasing her on consent and also because it will be required under the statute in just a few days,” the NY Post quoted the judge as saying. Harris was ordered not to have contact with her victims.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is flooding Brooklyn with additional police and politicians are decrying the attacks as a sign that something is terribly wrong in Donald Trump’s America.
Blaming one politician or one political party for the uptick in violence is ignorant. Democrats blame Trump, Republicans blame “the squad” and their rancid anti-Semitic rhetoric. But neither side is urging or promoting violence.
Anti-Semitism is a problem that should affect all of us. You can argue why these haters have become emboldened, or you can try doing something about the problem
Score political points or do something constructive. What do you think the Democrats will choose to do?
* CNN originally reported the name of the suspect as Thomas Grafton. Subsequent reports state that his name is Grafton Thomas.