Multiple people stabbed in New York synagogue attack, suspect arrested
UPDATED: 2019-12-29 13:19
In total five people have been stabbed, and at least one victim remains seriously wounded.
I was never a gun person. I didn’t want them in my house because I have curious kids, but I was fine with others having firearms. Until recently, I was content with my Louisville Slugger next to my nightstand.
Crime in Seattle has gotten so bad that we brought armed guards to Jewish cemeteries to protect children and veterans placing flags for the fallen on Memorial Day. Drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, substance abusers and others, have been desecrating the grounds on a nightly basis.
Armed guards are nothing new to Jews. They are present at synagogues, schools and community events. Unfortunately, because of our religious beliefs, we are always a target. The observant Jewish community enjoys a close connection with law enforcement. At the beginning of the year, 90,000 Jews attended an event called Siyum Hashas at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey celebrating the completion of the 7.5 year cycle of learning the Talmud. The police captain in charge of security called Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding, CEO of the event, confirming that there were zero incidents at the event, but also that “…his ‘troopers have worked millions of events, but they NEVER felt so appreciated as they felt yesterday”.
This event coincided with a string of anti Semitic attacks in New York and New Jersey. The suspects, who had priors on their records, were arrested, some quickly released and subsequently re-arrested for committing new crimes, thanks to New York’s new bail reform.
According to the New York Post: “The legislation requires arraignment judges to set free suspects in any non-sexual assault that doesn’t actually cause a physical injury, even in cases of hate crime attacks. The no-injury loophole will mean a quick get-out-of-jail-free card for all but one of the accused attackers in the eight Hanukkah-timed, anti-Semitic bias crimes that have terrified the city’s Orthodox communities.”
These kind of “reforms” have been in action in Seattle for several years under a program called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): While I would love to use their own words to tell you what they do, their King County Website says: “The Seattle-King County LEAD website is currently being revamped and will be shortly updated and relaunched.”
What LEAD claims it does is divert people who don’t belong in jail, to other programs to transition them back into society. This program has won awards and been cited as something to expand and replicate across the country.
When LEAD asked to meet with me last year to explain their operations, the director could not answer my basic questions about the program. How many people are in the program? How many people were back as contributing members of society? How many people returned to crime? No answers were given or available for these very simple questions. I have run several non profits and I knew every stat about each organization backwards and forwards.
The visuals on the streets of Seattle do not match LEAD’s claims of success. Almost every day there is another story of an attack, including on tourists and businesses. Business groups were so fed up that they commissioned System Failure: Report on Prolific Offenders in Seattle’s Criminal Justice System. The report showcases 100 Prolific offenders with multiple arrests, one as many as 74, who are continuously released. These offenders account for a large portion of the crime in downtown Seattle. Since the report was published, the majority of the “Prolific Offenders” have continued to cycle through Seattle’s “revolving door” justice system. LEAD funding has been put on hold by the Mayor pending a review by an outside consultant on the effectiveness of the program.
The report reminded me of the “Squeegee Men” who terrorized New York during the 1980s. These people were your first impression of New York when coming off the highway, as they started cleaning your windshield and would get violent if you told them “no”. It seemed as if there were thousands of them, but when NYPD started cracking down, it was discovered that there were only a few hundred Squeegee Men, who usually had criminal records. Under the Giuliani and Bloomberg mayoral administrations, the Squeegee Men were taken off the streets. Now under the DeBlasio Administration, they have made a comeback. Just like Seattle has seen a major spike in crime and boasts a property crime rate two-and-a-half times Los Angeles and four Times New York. “Progressive” politicians are making the problem worse and our cities more dangerous.
Peter Weyand, broke into a girls dorm at Yeshiva University in Manhattan and began setting fires in the building. According to the New York Post “he was released without bail following his arrest—only to be sprung again when he was allegedly caught trespassing on Staten Island hours later. He was also busted and let go after allegedly menacing a Brooklyn housemate on Dec. 5—sharpening a knife outside their door while calling out, ‘Here, piggy, piggy, piggy!’ according to police.”
When there is a failure of government to protect its own citizens, citizens will take their safety into their own hands. According to the Washington Examiner, Gun permit applications surged nearly 1,000 percent in New York’s Jewish community since the 13 anti-Semitic attacks in December.
When I ran for Seattle City Council, my family received multiple death threats. Strange phone calls. Doxxing of my home and office. As far as I know, I was the only candidate for Seattle City Council out of 57, who needed security guards. Ring doorbells and baseball bats were not going to cut it. My 12-year-old son asked if he could have a knife to protect his family from the people that were trying to kill us.
Ironically, the threats against my family came from believers of an ideology that is against gun ownership. I continue to receive threats, especially from Antifa who claim to be anti-fascist and are anything but, even though the campaign had been over for months. My family and I were being targeted because we are Jewish not because of my politics. Extremist actions like these, against an individual who does not have strong feelings on an issue, will cause a person to be more supportive of an ideology they don’t identify with because that is who is advocating for them.
When I hear about attacks with a body count on a religious institution, I always assume there were no members “carrying”. This is the new normal for Jewish life in America. I am troubled by the new legislation targeting legal gun owners in Washington and Virginia. None of the legislation they are proposing will do anything to make Jews or Non Jews safer. New York and New Jersey have some of the most stringent gun laws in the country, and that did not stop determined attackers. Meanwhile, Jews who want to protect themselves, have a very difficult time applying for firearms permits because of these laws. As long as people are intent on killing us, and “progressive” politicians continue to put us at risk, we need the ability to protect ourselves.
Global anti-Semitism is on the rise. 2019 ended with a Hanukkah machete attack in New York, and 2020 began with a slew of swastikas being spray-painted on cars, buildings, and Jewish camps from Vancouver Island to Brooklyn. Just a few days ago, four people were hospitalized in Uman, Ukraine after a mob armed with sticks and knives stormed a synagogue.
While this violence is horrific, it does not exist in a vacuum. These attacks have been flourishing in an environment where anti-Semitism is widespread and unbound by political and religious affiliation.
Take NowThis, the self-proclaimed “progressive social media-focused, youth-oriented news organization.” No reasonable person would expect the wokest of the woke to casually drift into blatant Jew-hatred, let alone Holocaust denial. Yet, in a video posted on January 16, NowThis did just that.
During a 5-minute clip, featuring university students active in Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, one student made the remark that “Anne Frank didn’t die [in] a concentration camp. She died from typhus.” This canard originated with neo-Nazis.
Not only is this claim false–Frank died in Bergen-Belsen–the context of the statement, in service of an overtly political agenda, renders it a disgusting exploitation of the Holocaust.
Ironically, part of the agenda in question was to reject a widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance (IHRA). This contemporary definition of the oldest form of hatred recognizes that Jewish conspiracy theories, Nazi comparisons, Holocaust denial, and denying Jews the right to self-determination (aka by claiming the State of Israel is a racist endeavor) are all anti-Semitic. Numerous countries have adopted the IHRA definition, including Canada this past June.
The statement, shared by NowThis with its over 2 million followers, is a crystal clear form of Holocaust denial that places the blame for the death of Jews not on the Nazis, the horrific conditions in which they imposed on Jews, and their genocide, but on an apparently spontaneous disease.
In the face of this overt form of antisemitism, NowThis did not apologize or remove the video. The organization simply issued a “correction,” removing the Holocaust denial line.
Unfortunately, the lightly edited video is not significantly better, and much of the rhetoric violates the IHRA definition.
In the extant version, the NowThis video undermines the fact that anti-Zionism is often anti-Semitic, while promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns and a Palestinian right of return. Each of these, certainly in the rejectionist worldviews of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, effectively deny Jewish people their right to self-determination, hold Israel to a double-standard, and are therefore not, as the four students claim, “legitimate criticisms of Israel.” It turns out that the Neo-Nazi and anti-Israel rhetoric are not divergent–they are part of the same warped, anti-Semitic ideology.
For those who follow contemporary anti-Semitism, the impact of the NowThis video is unsurprising. We expect no less when, of all the diverse Jewish and non-Jewish voices on campus, NowThis chose to interview members of these two hate groups.
Jewish Voice for Peace, perhaps because of its name, often gets a pass on its anti-Semitism. In 2019, Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave them $175,000, and they had $3.7 million in revenue in 2018. This is the same Jewish Voice for Peace that promotes leading American anti-Semitic voices–Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, Marc Lamont Hill. Yet activists from this group are the “experts” whom NowThis chose to interview on antisemitism.
If NowThis was genuine about righting its wrong of sharing neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic content, it would remove the video in its entirety and issue a formal apology. NowThis could partner with mainstream Jewish student groups to create a new short video about Holocaust education and promoting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
Instead, millions of young people are left absorbing discrimination, hate, and lies courtesy of NowThis.
Becca Wertman is Managing Editor and Canada Liaison at NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute.
I always thought that if there was a Jewish candidate for President, I would be excited to vote for them. Now, with a Jewish candidate as one of the top contenders, I am concerned more than anything else.
This past week, the The Seattle Times ran an article announcing that the Bernie Sanders campaign had hired former Seattle City Council candidate Shaun Scott as their Washington State Field Director. The article links to, but does not discuss, Scott’s positions on Seattle’s issues. To say that Scott is an extreme socialist would be an understatement. Scott has been very vocal about taxing everyone from businesses to people who drive to work everyday, opening heroin injection sites in Seattle, and eliminating the Police Department among other proposals. He ran on a slate with other socialist candidates Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales.
While all this is concerning, what is even more concerning to me is that the Seattle Times article failed to mention that the Sanders campaign has brought into the fold another anti-Semite.
Shawn Scott has a history of hatred of the Jewish state and alliances with anti-Semitic organizations. In his endorsement questionnaire for the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Scott was asked, “Do you support the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, (BDS) Movement?” One could ask why this question is on an endorsement for Seattle City Council which has no control over foreign policy, but I believe it goes to the heart of the ideology of the DSA.
According to a report by stopantisemitism.org entitled “The New Anti Semites” there are “unprecedented similarities between the BDS movement and far-right groups to propagate anti-Semitism in the United States.” The report goes on to say, “Much of this hatred is often disguised under the veil of the delegitimization campaign against the Jewish State of Israel.” The report details that the BDS movement “directly drives anti-Semitism and radicalizes public discourse in Western democracies,” and documents over 100 examples in the United States and around the world. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, has said publicly that he’s working for Israel’s “euthanasia.” Hatem Bazian—the other major co-founder of BDS in America—has called for an armed struggle, an “intifada,” against the United States and spouted anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Scott answered the DSA question by saying that he “Wholly and unequivocally” supports the BDS movement and added a well-known anti-Semitic trope: “BDS is the least we can do to support the Palestinian people currently suffering under the apartheid state of Israel.” More concerning is that Scott, even with his public comments, was still endorsed by mainstream Democrat organizations.
Scott has worked with and supports Jewish Voice for Peace-Seattle (JVP) JVP is against the existence of the State of Israel and even hosted Rasmeah Odeh, a Palestinian woman convicted in a 1969 terror attack that killed two. According to the Anti Defamation League (ADL) “Jewish Voice for Peace is a radical anti-Israel activist group that advocates for a complete economic, cultural and academic boycott of the state of Israel. JVP considers supporters of Israel, or even critics of Israel who do not hew to JVP’s own extreme views, to be complicit in Israel’s purported acts of racist oppression of Palestinians. JVP leaders believe that expressing support for Israel, or not challenging mainstream Jewish organizations that support Israel, must also be viewed as an implicit attack on people of color and all marginalized groups in the United States. JVP’s energetic proselytizing of this view–especially among other social justice groups–has created a hostile environment for many progressive Jews. In a sense, JVP is extending its boycott agenda to include not just Israel but its American supporters as well.” The full ADL report on JVP including JVP’s attacks on liberal and progressive Jews can be viewed here.
The Sanders campaign has been dogged by accusations of surrounding itself with anti-Semites over the past year. The Sanders Campaign named Linda Sarsour as an “Official Surrogate” for the campaign. Sarsour, was ousted from the Women’s March for a history of anti-Semitic comments including: “Israel was built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else.”
“How can you be against white supremacy in the United States of America and the idea of living in a supremacist state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is built on supremacy?”
Sarsour has been a supporter of rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan and also supported terrorists like Rasmea Odeh. Sarsour has parroted anti-Semitic accusations of “dual loyalty” of Jews whenever she is called out on her comments and actions. In a time of rising anti-Semitic attacks across the country, with Jewish institutions begging for more police protection, like Scott, Sarsour is anti-police and even went so far as to praise cop killer Assata Shakur.
Sanders has frequently appeared with and accepted endorsements of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib. Both, have well documented histories of anti-Semitic and anti Israel statements.
As a Jew, I always thought if there would be a Jewish candidate for President, they would represent traditional Jewish values. It is clear to me that the Sanders campaign and Shaun Scott do not represent those values and instead ally themselves with enemies of the Jews.
Ari Hoffman is the vice president of Congregation Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath in Seattle and a former candidate for Seattle City Council. He has been featured on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper, Fox and Friends, The Dr. Drew Show and The Glen Beck Program.
Last October, a well-known Portland antifa militant was killed under mysterious circumstances after leaving a pub popular with far-left extremists. Sean Daniel Kealiher, 23, was killed near the Cider Riot pub after being hit by a car that had been fired upon with live rounds. His friends dragged his body away and did not call the police.
Kealiher’s death immediately rippled throughout Portland and beyond, leading both the far-left and even establishment Democrat leaders to mourn publicly. A GoFundMe for his funeral raised thousands. And while he was lionized in the press as a murdered “anti-fascist activist” and even called a “martyr” by some, an investigation by The Post Millennial can reveal that newly uncovered evidence show he was far more radical than previously reported. In a series of discovered writings, Kealiher urged fellow comrades to commit violent terrorist acts and led training sessions to radicalize other youth.
Before his death, Kealiher was known in the militant anarchist community as “Armeanio Lewis,” one of the many names he also used online. His radical activism goes back to when he was around 13 or 14 during the Occupy Portland demonstrations in 2011. As a minor, Kealiher was filmed being arrested on numerous occasions. The details of juvenile cases are not available to the public.
As previously reported by The Post Millennial, Kealiher was filmed in recent years fighting at left-wing protests and threatening journalists who had cameras at public demonstrations. On numerous occasions, he was also seen travelling with members of the Red and Anarchist Skinheads, or RASH, a violent gang-like group known for brawling with right-wingers at riots. It is unknown if Kealiher was a member of the group. But aside from his known street militantism, The Post Millennial can now report that he also authored extreme literature calling for terrorist acts against schools, law enforcement and the public.
An excerpt from a September 2014 zine by Kealiher titled, “Why Break Windows” reads: “From the simple smashing of windows to the placement of a bomb or the robbing of the bank, our actions are heard and felt rather than ignored and treated as everyday life.”
The zine continues: “The attack is the most beautiful moment an anarchist can undertake. Feeling the adrenaline of rushing to a window with a rock in hand, or the moments before striking a cop with your fist. Planting the bomb, pulling the trigger, shouting f— the police!”
In 2015, an 18-year-old Kealiher tried to stop a police officer from investigating an incident of suspected domestic violence, according to a report by Portland Police. The officer notes that Kealiher physically obstructed the investigation, cursed at him and resisted arrest. The officer says the domestic abuse suspect likely used the distraction to flee. Kealiher was found guilty for interfering with a police officer and sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Two weeks after his death, Kealiher’s extremist zine romanticizing violent extremism was distributed at a memorial potluck in downtown Portland attended by his mother. Several masked individuals acted as security.
Beyond that tract, Kealiher would go on to author more pieces urging explicit terrorist attacks. On his blog, the “Lumpen Prole Distro,” he uses the pseudonym “Armeanio Lewis” and suggests that his writings may have inspired real-world attacks in Portland.
“Shortly after the publishing of this essay, 15 [Aramak] Trucks, the company that supplies school lunches and prison lunches, were sabotaged,” reads the new preface in a November 2014 update to Kealiher’s “Manifesto Against Schools.” The 12-page document continues: “Shortly after that, an entire condo complex was burned to the ground. This fire was the biggest fire seen in Portland, and everything was torched.”
In August 2013, a 46-unit building under construction in northeast Portland was destroyed in a large fire. The flames spread to surrounding apartment buildings, leading to emergency evacuations of residents and further damage. The heat was so intense on the block that cars parked nearby appeared “melted,” according to media reports. Though the fires were among the largest in the city’s history, causing around $6m worth of damage, nobody was injured. An investigation by authorities determined the fire was started through an arson attack. The Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $5,000 cash reward for information at the time. The incident is listed by the Department of Homeland Security as an instance of far-left domestic terrorism.
Beyond the manifesto’s preface, Kealiher explicitly called for others to engage in violent attacks. “It’s time to get off your knees, unclasp your begging hands and pick a weapon, because those on the other side have already done so,” it reads. The “other side” references current society. “My side, hopefully our side, has so many weapons to choose from. Be it the power of a pen, the strength of a rock, or the power of a gun.”
The manifesto continues: “You can craft your own destruction. Be it burning down a school, smashing a banks window … There is so much to destroy, and so much for you to choose.”
Elsewhere on the blog, Kealiher expressed “unapologetic support” for killing law enforcement and destroying buildings with fires. Most of the blog’s essays were written between 2014–15, when Kealiher was 18 and 19 years old.
He also made efforts to export his ideas into real-world training sessions. In December 2013, a 17-year-old Kealiher organized a training event with the intention of introducing minors to extremist anarchist ideas, according to the flyer for the event. He spoke at The Red and Black Cafe, a now-defunct left-wing Portland cafe, using the pseudonym “John Cracklemore.”
Kealiher’s extreme views were also published on various social media platforms. On Reddit, using a different pseudonym, he recounted a time where he says he trained high school students to fight police officers.
Kealiher’s extremism may have eventually landed him under the investigation of federal authorities, however.
In January 2017, Kealiher posted on Facebook that two DHS agents showed up to his mother’s house to try and speak with him. The details of that alleged investigation are unknown. DHS did not respond to The Post Millennial’s request for comment. His mother, Laura Kealiher, declined to comment for the story.
More than three months have passed since Kealiher’s death but Portland Police have not released any new details in their investigation. What is known is that Kealiher was struck by a vehicle following an argument outside the Cider Riot pub. The attorney for Hyatt Eshelman, who was with Kealiher at the time of the incident, says Eshelman pulled out a handgun and fired at the SUV. The vehicle crashed outside the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, where the driver and passengers fled on foot.
A vagrant who witnessed part of the incident says Eshelman, 26, and another man dragged Kealiher’s body away, leaving a bloody trail. Emergency responders were never called to the scene by those involved. Eshelman has not spoken publicly about the incident himself but his far-left activism is documented. In November 2016, he was arrested at a violent antifa riot in Portland against Trump’s election win. He was charged with one count of failing to obey a police officer, but the charge was subsequently dismissed. He is also a member of the Rum Rebellion, a radical anarchist punk band.
Online, various antifa activists and groups instructed their comrades to scrub their messages with Kealiher and to not cooperate with police in their investigation. Kealiher’s mother has also come out publicly to demand that nobody associated with her son speak to the media.
While his history of extremism online was known only to his comrades, his violent actions offline were well-documented through law enforcement and the press. Despite this, local mainstream Democrat politicians joined various antifa activists to publicly mourn his death. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted: “This is alarming and heartbreaking. Our deepest sympathies go out to family and friends of the victim.”
And on the Sunday night following his death, Kealiher’s comrades responded by vandalizing the Democratic Party of Oregon building with antifa propaganda and spray paint. The graffiti messages encouraged others to kill law enforcement, among other things.
Brad Martin, the executive director for the Democratic Party of Oregon, downplayed the graffiti and expressed support for the vandals at the time. He told KATU: “We know that [pain] expresses itself in a lot of ways, including the graffiti on the building and we understand that. It’s just paint.”
But for Sean Kealiher, vandalism was never “just paint.”
In the final paragraph of his “Manifesto Against Schools,” it reads: “We all die anyway, and we will be miserable somehow and somewhere, so why sit by when you can burn? Why sit in your room, dreading going to school? You need not have to, especially when you can BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN.”