Police are investigating a suspected hate crime after a man set fire to the outside of a popular Jewish-Japanese fusion restaurant in New York City, according to the NYPD.
A surveillance camera caught the moment that a man attempted to set the Shalom Japan restaurant on fire. Surveillance footage shows a bearded man wearing glasses and a baseball cap walking up to the restaurant located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn around 4 a.m. on Nov. 18.
Police said the man torched two outside window tarps decorated with the Star of David. Video shows the man admiring his work before walking away. Smoke can be seen enveloping the surveillance camera.
There were no injuries from the fire, and there was no structural damage to the Brooklyn restaurant.
“The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating this as an anti-Jewish incident,” police stated.
The NYPD is asking the public to help identify the individual who attempted to set the Jewish-Japanese fusion restaurant ablaze.
Police described the arson suspect as a man with a dark complexion and a thin physical frame.
Shalom Japan addressed the arson attempt in an Instagram post.
“Thank you for the concern and outpouring of love we have received. News quickly spread of an alleged fire that occurred at our restaurant a few weeks ago,” the restaurant said on social media. “Fortunately Shalom Japan is fine and open for business.”
Of all groups, Jews have been the most targeted in hate crime incidents in New York City. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, there have been 155 hate crime incidents targeting Jewish people in New York City, according to NYPD data. Homosexual men were the victims of 65 hate crime incidents, followed by 37 against Asians and 36 against blacks.
In the month of October, NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force investigated 69 bias incidents against Jews — a whopping 214% increase compared to the same time a year ago.
There has also been a spike in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States since the start of the Israel-Hames war started on Oct. 7, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL reported in late October that incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault have skyrocketed by 388% over the same period last year.
The organization said, “ADL recorded a total of 312 anti-Semitic incidents between Oct. 7-23, 2023, 190 of which were directly linked to the war in Israel and Gaza. By comparison, during the same period in 2022, ADL received preliminary reports of 64 incidents, including four that were Israel-related.”
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