'I don't even want to look in the mirror': NYC man beaten, maced in broad daylight speaks out about anti-Semitic attack

The 29-year-old was making his way to a pro-Israel demonstration in midtown when he was attacked by a group of pro-Palestinian protestors.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

A 29-year-old man was making his way to a pro-Israel demonstration in midtown when he was attacked by a group of pro-Palestinian protestors.

According to the Daily Mail, Joseph Borgen was simply walking down the street wearing his kippa when a man started running after him. "I turned around to try to figure out what was going on," Borgen said, "and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by a whole crowd of people who proceeded to physically attack me, beat me, kick me, punch me, hit me with crutches, hit me with flag poles."

Borgen went on to describe the ordeal. "After I wound up on the ground, I was literally just in a fetal position, trying to guard my head and face, literally just trying to make it out of their alive." He added that proceeded to mace him "for like a minute straight."

Beyond the physical attack, Borgen recalls hearing the group of at least ten people shout, "You filthy Jew," "We're going to f*****g kill you," "Go back to Israel," and "Hamas is going to kill you." The attack only ended when police arrived on scene.

"I thought I was going to die," said Borgen. "I thought I was really going to die."

Borgen sustained bruises to his face and body, as well as a possible concussion, and had to have his eyes flushed due to being maced. After the attack, he stated that he "[didn't] even want to look in the mirror."

One of the suspects, 23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh, was arrested and charged with "assault as a hate crime, gang assault, menacing, aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon."

There has been a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes as of late, a fact that saddened Borgen. "I would never think I'd ever have to worry about my religion or my skin color or my ethnicity being a problem in New York city," he said.


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