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He Was Walking to a Pro-Israel Rally. Then, '4 Terrifying Minutes'

Jewish man beaten by mob in NYC's Times Square: 'I could have died'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2021 8:30 AM CDT

A Jewish man headed toward a pro-Israel rally over the current conflict in the Gaza Strip was beaten by a mob in New York City's Times Square earlier this week, with the relentless attack continuing for what the New York Daily News describes as "four terrifying minutes." Police say five or six men descended upon 29-year-old Joseph Borgen at around 6:30pm Thursday as he walked alone on Broadway, near 49th Street. Video shot by a bystander shows a portion of the assault from across the street, as the attackers can be seen kicking and hitting Borgen with various objects. "They were macing me for like a minute straight," Borgen, who says he was wearing his yarmulke, tells CBS New York, adding that the men also yelled antisemitic slurs at him. "Kicked me, punched me, beat me with crutches, hit me with flags." Borden says he couldn't see for hours afterward from the pepper spray, and he says he also has a concussion and is covered in bruises.

"I'm generally sore and hurt," Borgen tells the Daily News. "But I want to say I'm a little thankful, because I saw the video and I could have died." Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the Anti-Defamation League have all decried the attack, with de Blasio calling it "absolutely disgusting and unacceptable." NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force says one man, 23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh, has already been arrested, accused of using a crutch to beat Borgen. Awawdeh has been charged with hate crime assault, gang assault, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon. Borgen tells FOX 5 he has just one message to everyone in the wake of the attack: "Everyone get along. ... What happened yesterday is not the answer to anyone's problems." He adds to CNN, "Nothing in my life has ever made me want to do that to anybody." The task force says it's investigating the incident further and is asking anyone with information to call 1-800-577-TIPS. (More Jews stories.)

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