19.08.

1991: African Americans Attack Jews

1991: African Americans Attack Jews
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Crown Heights in Community Board 8, Brooklyn, New York City

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 19 August 1991
  • The African Americans started to physically assault the Jews, many of whom were injured. A group of young African Americans surrounded Yankel Rosenbaum shouting “Kill the Jew!”and killed him by stabbing him in the back with a knife.

Unusual racist riots erupted in a part of Brooklyn, New York on this day. Many American Jews saw those events as the largest pogrom of Jews in the history of the USA.

The riots began after a 7-year-old child of an immigrant from Guyana was hit in a traffic accident caused by a car escorting Jewish rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

The child soon died, which seriously upset the African Americans, who were particularly angry at the mentioned rabbi, who was the religious leader of the great Chabad-Lubavitch group of Hasidic (orthodox) Jews.

There had always been tensions between the African Americans and Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood, and the death of the mentioned child caused these to erupt into violence.

The African Americans started to physically assault the Jews, many of whom were injured. A group of young African Americans surrounded Yankel Rosenbaum shouting “Kill the Jew!”and killed him by stabbing him in the back with a knife.

The mentioned Rosenbaum was an Australian Jew who was performing his PhD studies in the USA. The African American rioters killed another man whom the mistakenly considered a Jew.

Israeli flags were set on fire and Jewish shops were vandalized. Many people were injured.

The riots had a great effect on the New York mayor elections. The incumbent African American mayor David Dinkins lost the elections largely due to these incidents.

Only two people were brought before the court – Lemerick Nelson and Charles Price. It is interesting that the driver who caused the death of the child which triggered the riots was cleared of all charges.

Namely, the jury decided that the accident occurred after he lost control of his vehicle. However, the driver left the country soon after and moved to Israel, fearing for his life.

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