Thousands rally in New York City against anti-Semitism

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer were among the thousands who turned out for a march against anti-Semitism after a spate of hate crimes in the region.

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Thousands rallied in New York City on Sunday (Jan 5) to protest against a recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks in the region, including a stabbing at a rabbi's home during a Hanukkah celebration.

Addressing the crowd at what was dubbed the "No Hate, No Fear Solidarity March", New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed to introduce legislation that would classify hate crimes as domestic terrorism.

"Government must do more than just offer thoughts and prayers, government must act," said Mr Cuomo. "As soon as the legislature comes back, I'm going to propose a new law for the state of New York that calls this hate what it is - it is domestic terrorism. These are terrorists and should be punished as such."

The rally came as the country's three largest cities - New York, Los Angeles and Chicago - hit an 18-year high in hate crimes, according the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism.

Grafton Thomas, 37, was charged with six counts of attempted murder after stabbing guests at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, a prominent Hasidic Jewish leader in the largely ultra-Orthodox community of Monsey, New York.

Thomas pleaded not guilty when first charged with five counts on Dec 22.

The most gravely injured is reported to be a 72-year-old man who suffered machete blows to his head, leaving him partially paralysed, comatose and breathing on a respirator.

Thomas was also charged with federal hate crimes in connection with the attack.

Sunday's march wound through lower Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York also addressed the crowd, saying he will propose that the federal government spend US$100 million (S$135 million) to help local police departments combat hate crimes.