Brooklyn Jews on edge amid uptick in hate crimes

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Brooklyn Jews on edge amid uptick in hate crimes - NY Daily News

In New York’s Jewish neighborhoods, the fear is palpable and the evidence mounting that there’s a surge in anti-Semitism.

Sixty-three-year-old Lieb Potok recalls being threatened by two hate-spewing men as he walked home in Midwood, Brooklyn, last Monday.

“Two guys, they followed me two blocks the other day saying ‘dirty Jew’ and cursing about Israel, things like that,” he said.

“There is a feeling we are truly not safe.”

In Borough Park, Brooklyn, on Friday, just as three cars were torched in Potok’s neighborhood, someone used a key to etch a swastika into the lobby door of an apartment building on17th Ave.

Residents were stunned.

“I’m very upset,” said one 58-year-old man. “Why are they doing this? What’s going to come afterward.

“This is just the beginning.”

Another swastika, painted with what appeared to be red nail polish, was spotted Sunday on a parking Muni-Meter on McDonald Ave.

Sightings of the Nazi symbol “are happening now more than ever,” said Jacob Daskel, a member of Shomrim, a civilian security group.

“We’re dealing with something that we’ve never dealt with here before,” said Simcha Bernath, the police liaison for the Brooklyn South Shomrim Patrol.

In interview after interview Sunday, Jewish New Yorkers in the city’s religious neighborhoods said they haven’t felt this on edge since the tensions between blacks and Jews in the Crown Heights riots 20 years ago.

“I’ve lived here 50 years, and other than 1991, this is the most fear I’ve felt about this kind of behavior,” said Pauline Golden, 76, of Midwood.

“This is a scary time to be Jewish in this area.”

Two weeks ago, a Daily News reporter witnessed a group of young men spewing anti-Semitic comments at a religious Jew in Williamsburg who fell while crossing Hooper St.

“Watch where you’re going, Jew,” one of the men said, as he and his pals stood over the elderly man. “Shave that f-----g beard.”

The incidents come on the heels of a nationwide survey by the Anti-Defamation League, which found that 15% of the country holds deeply anti-Semitic views.

The ADL tallied 133 anti-Semitic incidents citywide last year — with 50 of them in Brooklyn.

David Raskin, 47, said he feared his 15-year-old daughter would be exposed to the rising tide of hatred he has seen around their home in Borough Park.

“It’s frightening that in this day and age, in a place where Jews have contributed so much to society, we have to worry about our safety,” he said. “People are scapegoating us for society’s ills. It’s an old story, but it’s as disquieting as ever.”

City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) said the apparent increase in anti-Semitism must be checked.

“I’m afraid that more and more people are thinking this is acceptable,” Levin said. “We can’t let it slide as a city.”

NYPD officials did not return a request for comment Sunday.