The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—applauds Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s May 30, 2023, announcement that Staten Island resident Suleiman Othman pled guilty to a hate crime for attacking a Jewish man for refusing to remove a sweatshirt with an IDF emblem. The attack was caused by pure hatred. With antisemitism growing in the United States, and antisemitic attacks rising in New York City, this conviction is a small but important victory in the big fight against hatred.
This city must be safe for its residents to live without constant fear of being attacked based on their race, ethnicity or religion. A city in which its residents live in fear is a city in steep decline. A successful recovery requires law enforcement, the judiciary, and all public and private stakeholders to work in tandem to remove hatred and bigotry from the streets of New York.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “The Rabbinical Alliance of America is grateful that Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzales pursued his mandate vigorously and secured a hate crimes plea from Suleiman Othman. His brazen antisemitic behavior was painful and hateful. As rabbis, our concern is whether, in light of the current uptick of antisemitism, his sentence sufficiently sends the message that antisemitism and hate have no place in society. We hope and pray that it does send such a strong message that would-be attackers will be discouraged from harming innocent civilians. As a society, in tackling this vile cancer of hate from all angles, we must back up education and prevention with accountability—which we hope this sentence does. We pray that the conviction of Suleiman Othman sends a resounding message to potential haters that if you act on hate you will be held accountable for your actions and will be appropriately punished.
“We further pray that He who makes peace in His Heavens make peace on His earth and that all those who harbor hate in their hearts see the folly of their ways and use that negative energy as a positive force to help make this world a better place for all people.”