‘Death to Israel!’ Jewish family attacked at Brooklyn elementary school graduation

Hamas sympathies rocked an elementary school graduation ceremony in Brooklyn as a Jewish family was allegedly attacked amid shouts of “Death to Israel!”

College campuses could not be counted alone in fostering anti-Israel sentiments after one student’s “expression of free speech” drew a dividing line for attendees at the fifth-grade graduation for students at PS 682, The Academy of Talented Scholars in South Brooklyn.

Speaking with the New York Post, Lana, a Jewish mother of two students, recounted her side of the story that landed her Catholic husband, Johan, in the hospital.

“A graduation event that was supposed to be joyous and memorable turned into a violent and traumatizing one,” she expressed as images shared online by the non-partisan group StopAntisemitism showed the various scapes and bruises incurred. “They targeted my family because we are Jewish.”

Prior to the scuffle, Lana had indicated that her own mother had walked out of the ceremony themed “All you need is love,” after one of the students had walked across the stage waving the readily identified red, green, black and white flag with a message on his cap reading “Free Palestine.”

Afterward, an attempt to take pictures with her husband and two children in front of the PS 682 banner led to an argument with that boy’s family as she alleged they tried to push hers aside. “We told them there was space for both families. An older man turned to us and said ‘Free Palestine!’ for no reason. My husband told him this was not the time or place for that but the man cursed at him in Arabic, and shouted, ‘Free Palestine, Gaza is Ours, Death to Israel.'”

Johan told the Post that as he argued with that man, another “just came out of nowhere, punched me in the head and it was a scuffle.”

“From there, I don’t remember, because there was so much going on and so many people on top of me,” he contended. “Then I was put on a chokehold. Somebody was holding my leg. It was chaotic.”

While his 16-year-old son tried to help, he too was reportedly punched in the face and Lana said for her own efforts, “A woman from the group came up from behind me, pulled me by the hair, and knocked me down on the ground, shouting, ‘I will kill you,'” leading her to cry out, “Call the cops! Call the cops!”

Johan was transported to Maimonides Medical Center to be treated for his injuries while the NYPD indicated to the Post that Ez-Al Dean Bazar, 26, was arrested and later released. Though the incident was initially not considered a “hate crime,” as according to Lana, “”nothing on my body says I am Jewish,” a police spokesperson informed the newspaper, “The Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident.”

“We consistently warned that tolerating overtly antisemitic views would create a toxic environment for Jewish students and families, inevitably leading to physical violence,” city educator Tova Plaut stated. “This has now occurred.”

PS 682 is zoned for District 20, which includes the neighborhood of Bay Ridge where massive Hamas sympathizing protests have repeatedly led to clashes with police.

A statement from Department of Education spokesman Nathaniel Styer to the Post noted, “Graduations should be times of celebration and joy, and we strongly denounce anyone who acts in a violent or aggressive way during such events.”

He then appeared to level some of the blame on the Jewish family as he stated ahead of a concluded investigation, “Initial reports we have received from multiple witnesses indicate that both families engaged in aggressive behavior, but we are still investigating the matter and are simultaneously engaging with families as we work towards a resolution.”

Kevin Haggerty

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