Two men charged with battering a Jewish man will spend little to no time in jail for their role in the anti-Semitic hate crime, the Manhattan district attorney’s office told the Washington Free Beacon this week.
Manhattan’s top prosecutor, Alvin Bragg (D.), offered Waseem Awawdeh and Faisal Elezzi—two of four men charged with violently beating and pepper-spraying a Jewish man in 2021—reduced sentences as part of the plea deals, which will see Awawdeh spend six months in jail and Elezzi entering an intensive treatment program, according to the district attorney’s office. The four men allegedly participated in a gang attack on Joseph Borgen, who was beaten and called anti-Semitic slurs as he made his way to a pro-Israel demonstration.
The light sentences are generating anger among Jewish advocates who say it is unacceptable for New York City authorities to offer the men plea deals as violence against Jews surges to its highest levels in history. New York City has become a hotbed of anti-Semitic violence, with police reporting 263 separate attacks in 2022, an average of 1 incident every 33 hours, according to the Times of Israel. These numbers mark a sharp increase from 2020 and 2021 and come as anti-Semitic rhetoric bubbles into the mainstream via prominent figures like rapper Kanye West and basketball star Kyrie Irving.
Jewish advocates said Awawdeh’s plea deal of six months in prison is particularly offensive due to a claim that he reportedly made to jailers: “If I could do it again, I would do it again.”