Several months ago, Americans were alarmed by the spread of the “knockout game,” in which assailants on the street would punch victims, often from behind, without warning, knocking them unconscious. In Brooklyn, New York, a 13-year-old Jewish girl was attacked as part of a new violent game called, “What the hell are they?” In a bizarre twist, crowds shouted antisemitic slurs as police arrived to arrest the alleged teenaged attacker.
The game’s objective is as follows: If someone is wearing nicer shoes than you, you must hit them on their feet or legs, shout “what the he** are they” and run away….
The victim did not immediately understand what they said to her, but later on, when police explained the ‘game’ to her, she recalled that it was indeed what had been said….
The scene at the Public Library on New York Avenue, where the assailant was stopped by Shomrim [security guards] as they waited for the police to arrive, quickly descended into one of the ugliest displays of hate and anti-Semitism this reporter has ever witnessed. Adults shouted anti-Semitic slurs and called for violence against the Jews, simply for being Jewish and standing up for their rights.
The neighborhood, Crown Heights, has large Jewish and black populations who live together peacefully most of the time. In the early 1990s, rioting followed the death of a young black child who was run over, and a mob–allegedly incited by Al Sharpton–killed visiting Australian religious student Yankel Rosenbaum.