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A Jewish man who was beaten by a crowd when Israeli and Palestinian supporters clashed in Midtown on Thursday night suffered a concussion and said he should now “wear a kippah in public.”
Upper East Side accountant Joseph Borgen, 29, said he was on his way to the rally when several people found him on Broadway near West 49th Street.
“There was a rally at this place last week that I went to,” Borgen told the Post. “I wore a yarmulke last week and nothing great happened. I went to the same event this week. I got off the subway at 6.30 and went to the rally. Before I could get to the rally, a few blocks away, a guy started chasing me. ”
“I was trying to escape and the next thing around me was a group of people kicking me, hitting me and hitting me,” he recalls. “I felt a liquid run down my face and at first I thought I was urinating, but it turned out to be macerated and itchy. My face burned. This pain was worse than the concussion and all the things that followed. ”
In the videotaped attack, Borgen was knocked to the ground by a group of five or six men who allegedly made anti-Semitic statements, beating him, kicking him, peppering him and hitting him with crutches.
After four minutes of beatings, the police broke up, Borgen said. An ambulance took him to Bellevue.
“I have a concussion,” Borgen said. “They did an X-ray of my wrist. It is not broken, but it is ruined. Every time I move it it hurts, probably a sprain. I have bruises all over my body. I have a black eye, my face is livid. I only have pain all over my body. They kicked me in the ribs, in the stomach. ”
Police ransacked the area and arrested Waseem Awawdeh, 23, of Bay Ridge, police said.
He was charged with hate crimes, gang assault, threats, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
The other suspects are still at large.
Borgen said he went to the protest “only with the intention of being with my fellow Jews or anyone who supports Israel.”
“I heard about waves of hate rushing through the city and maybe I was a little naive in thinking that it would never happen to me,” he said. “Many minority groups are currently under attack. I’ve been to New York my whole life and I never thought in a million years that there would come a time when I would have to wear a yarmulke in public. ”
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea condemned the attack on Friday in a forcefully worded tweet.
“There is no room for hatred of any kind against any group of people in New York City,” said the CEO. “This incident and all incidents are being fully investigated by @NYPDHateCrimes as always. Now is the time for New Yorkers to come together and, more importantly, to become New Yorkers. ”
The incident occurred about half an hour before fireworks were launched from a van full of Palestinian protesters who waved a flag and landed next to a 55-year-old woman who was burned to the ground.
At least 26 people were arrested during the protest.
Skirmishes between groups have broken out in the Midtown tourist center as Israel and Hamas await a ceasefire in Gaza to end more than 10 days of devastating hostilities.