Attacks on Jews in New York are Terrorism, not just Hate Crimes

by Stephen Bryen

The attacks on Jews in New York are terrorism, not just hate crimes. It is mistake to think the attacks are merely some form of antisemitism, like what has been reported frequently from Europe. Surely antisemitism plays a part, but it is bigger than that. It is a political effort to destroy the Jewish community in the United States. New York, the Jewish heartland of America, has been chosen for a reason.

This confusion between hate crimes and terrorism is misleading the police, government officials, and citizens. It is misrepresenting the nature of the threat and therefore seriously underestimating how to properly respond and deal with the enemy.

The enemy in this case is a terrorist organization that appears to be embedded in New York’s Harlem community.

We don’t know how this terrorist operation is organized, who is financing it, and what they will do next. That’s because the police and government officials have approached the problem as individual hate crimes, not as organized terrorist attacks. There is a big difference.

Terrorist operations almost always work from a base of attack planning, intelligence gathering and a plan to create havoc and maximum damage at minimal cost to them.

It is impossible to know whether the Harlem terrorist operation is purely domestic or has outside foreign support, but it is clear that it is working from good intelligence and appears to be professionally guided, even if the people carrying out the attacks “look” like amateurs.

How, for example, can a man from Harlem, New York go up to a tiny Hasidic Jewish enclave and attack a Rabbi’s home where, in the basement, there was a Hanukkah party? The same man then went to the Congregation Netzach Yisrael-Kosson synagogue where the party-goers had run and tried to get in (but they barricaded the doors and he could not push them open).

The image above shows Rabbi Chaim Leibush Rottenberg (sitting). Rottenberg is the leader of Congregation Netzach Yisrael-Kosson. This photo is said to have been taken moments before the attack on Saturday

To do any of this he would have needed information about the Rabbi’s home, that there would be a Hanukkah party in his basement, and that he could walk in easily because there was no security.

The man was arrested an hour later in Harlem because his car was spotted at the crime scene and the police were given the license plate number and a description of the car.

That man, Thomas Grafton of Greenwood Lake, New York headed to Harlem and not to his home. The distance between Greenwood Lake and New York is 38 miles and the travel time (on Sunday) is estimated at 1 hour and 21 minutes. When he was arrested he was covered in blood. Obviously he was going back to his handlers, not home.

The chance of carrying out this kind of attack as a “lone wolf” is not credible. More people were involved and this is a case of organized terrorism.

The idea of this terrorist cell is to create pressure on Jews in New York, threaten them, bully them, physically attack them, humiliate them, and now stab them (including children).

There is a good chance that the attack in Jersey City which used guns is the same deal. That attack on a Kosher market was next to a synagogue. The two killers, David Anderson and Francine Graham had earlier killed policeman, Detective Joseph Seals, who approached the U-Haul truck in a Jersey city cemetery. Seals was investigating the murder of Michael Rumberger, whose body was found in a Lincoln Town Car trunk in Bayonne, New Jersey. Rumberger, who provided car limo services was killed by massive blows to the head. Anderson and Graham are believed to have killed him after Graham transported them from a Jersey City mall to a moving company in Bayonne, New Jersey. Why he was murdered is not known. (Anderson and Graham were living inside a previously rented, but long overdue, U-Haul truck and had no fixed place of residence at the time of the supermarket attack and Rumberger’s murder.)

It is hard to believe these attacks are not connected. The police need to go after this as an organized, systematic terrorist assault on Jews in New York and in the surrounding area (Northern New Jersey, Rockland county etc.).

It is one thing to increase the number of police, and to put in place security measures, but the bottom line is that the terror cell needs to be uncovered and eliminated. Otherwise these crimes will happen more and more frequently and more people will be hurt or will die.

It is urgent for President Trump to order his administration to treat these attacks as systematic terrorism.


Stephen Bryen is the author of Security for Holy Places (Forthcoming: Morgan James Publisher) now available for pre-order on Amazon.

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