TIMES SQUARE — Police charged a 23-year-old man with a hate crime assault Friday after he allegedly beat a Jewish man with a crutch as pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups clashed in Times Square on Thursday.
Waseem Awawdeh was also charged with gang assault, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, police said. More than 20 others were arrested during the protest.
Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the attack on Twitter.
“Antisemitism has NO place in our city,” he tweeted. “There’s no excuse for violence against someone because of who they are. None. We will bring the perpetrators of this vicious act of hate to justice.”
The Times Square melee on Thursday evening resulted in 26 arrests on charges including obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and criminal possession of a weapon.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to help the investigation.
“I unequivocally condemn these brutal attacks on visibly Jewish New Yorkers and we will not tolerate antisemitic violent gang harassment and intimidation,” he said. “New York is the vibrant and dynamic home for people from around the world. This tapestry makes New York the extraordinary place that it is. Those of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities must be able to walk the streets safely and free from harassment and violence.”
The arrests came just hours after a cease-fire was announced in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza.