New York police say attacker yelled “Kanye 2024” and antisemitic statements before assaulting 63-year-old man

Kanye West

The New York Police Department is searching for a man who allegedly yelled “Kanye 2024” and antisemitic remarks before assaulting a 63-year-old man in Central Park earlier this month.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Twitter account said that the victim “suffered lacerations and a chipped tooth” after being attacked, and that “numerous anti-Jewish statements were made prior to the assault”. The victim was hospitalised and is in stable condition.

NBC News have also confirmed with police that the attacker made the “Kanye 2024” remark, referring to Kanye West – whose recent string of antisemitic comments have seen him face widespread backlash and professional consequences – and his ostensible presidential campaign.

Earlier this month, West appeared on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars, praising Adolf Hitler, saying that he “see[s] good things” about the Nazi dictator and denying the extent of the Holocaust. Shortly afterwards, West tweeted an image of a swastika inside a Star of David, leading to his Twitter account being suspended.

More recently, West sat down with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes for an interview in which the rapper told Jewish people to “forgive Hitler”, and was suspended from social audio app Clubhouse for marking further antisemitic comments.

“Crimes like these have a ripple effect across communities and cause unique trauma on top of physical harm,” Scott Richman, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey, told CNN regarding the attack. “When public figures with huge platforms fan the flames of antisemitism, people will copy it and begin to think it’s normal.”

It’s not the first time of late that West’s remarks appear to have influenced an act of antisemitism. Back in October, a group hung a banner over a freeway in Los Angeles that read “Kanye is right about the Jews” and gave Nazi salutes. “It’s not just words,” Sam Yebri, a lawyer and former Anti-Defamation League board member said at the time. “There is clearly a connection to white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements.”

Earlier this week, watchdog group StopAntisemitism named West “Antisemite of the Year”. Speaking to TMZ, the group’s executive director Liora Rez said West had used his platform “to push dangerous antisemitic tropes about Jews” and that his comments had “resulted in horrific antisemitic acts”. Rez added that hatred towards Jewish people is “out of control in the United States” and that West was “add[ing] fuel to that fire”.

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