Manhattan police were still on the hunt Saturday for a suspect who allegedly shouted “numerous” antisemitic statements as he attacked a 63-year-old man in Central Park, officials reported.
Police said at one point, the attacker yelled: “Kanye 2024” — a reference to the notorious antisemitic rapper’s planned run for the U.S. presidency in 2024.
Kanye West, now known as Ye, recently dined with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and proclaimed on a podcast earlier this month that he “likes” Hitler and “loves” Nazis. His Twitter account was restricted — again — early this month when he posted an image of the Star of David intertwined with a swastika.
The victim of the assault was walking in the park early Wednesday night when the attacker struck him from behind, according to a statement from the New York Police Department (NYPD).
The man fell to the ground and suffered a broken hand and chipped tooth, according to police. He was hospitalized in stable condition.
Images of the suspect were captured on surveillance video. He appeared to be in his 40s, and he fled on a bike, according to the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force. A small cart was attached to the bike with a sign reading “Hungry Disabled,” police said.
The New York/New Jersey branch of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was “horrified” by the antisemitic assault, said Scott Richman, ADL’s regional director.
“Crimes like these have a ripple effect across communities and cause unique trauma on top of physical harm,” the ADL noted in a tweet.
The attack demonstrates how Ye’s antisemitic rhetoric has perpetuated violence and incited others to act, Richman told CNN. “When public figures with huge platforms fan the flames of antisemitism, people will copy it and begin to think it’s normal,” he said.
Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. spiked last year, according to an annual report by the ADL. Antisemitic incidents reported to the ADL in 2021 — 2,717 — were 34% more than in 2020 and the highest number since the organization began tracking antisemitic attacks in 1979.
Antisemitic attacks have also surged in New York, with an increase of 125% last month compared with November 2021, according to data released by the NYPD and reported by New York’s ABC 7 News. New York police just this month arrested a man accused of firing a BB gun at a Jewish father and his son outside a kosher supermarket in Staten Island, CBS reported.