The suspect in a machete attack Saturday night in which five Jews were wounded at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York, has been identified as Grafton Thomas, 38.
He was arrested in Harlem by New York Police Department (NYPD) officers and “was found with blood all over his clothing and a strong smell of bleach in the car, like he was trying to destroy evidence,” according to Rockland County Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic.
The attack occurred at a rabbi’s house in the religious community — the latest attack on Orthodox Jews near New York City. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has come under increasing criticism for the attacks, especially after several suspects in recent violent antisemitic attacks were released as courts have rushed to comply with the state’s new “bail reform” legislation, which is supported by the de Blasio administration, and which takes full effect Jan 1.
De Blasio condemned the attack, but also came under immediate criticism for not doing enough about antisemitism:
The violent anti-Semitic attacks in NYC are being caused by raw hate, feckless leadership, a culture of acceptance, education & promotion of anti-Semitism, & lowering quality of life. De Blasio & ALL elected and community leaders need to step up to confront & crush this threat. pic.twitter.com/yQzI8L9jdu
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) December 28, 2019
Recently, De Blasio said that he had “mixed feelings” about an executive order signed earlier this month by President Trump to extend the protections of Title VI of the the Civil Rights Act to Jews on college campuses. De Blasio said that he worried it could impede freedom of speech.
Democrats have, in the past, attempted to blame President Donald Trump or white supremacists for antisemitic violence. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) tweeted, then deleted, a claim earlier this month that “white supremacy” was responsible for an attack in Jersey City in which two Jews, a Latino immigrant, and a police officer were murdered.
The suspects were later found to be black, with reported past ties to the radical Black Hebrew Israelite group.
Some on the left attempted to blame President Trump for the machete attack, for “exceptionalizing” Jews, even in a “positive” way:
Just to be clear, I hold the Trump White House directly responsible for the increasing violent attacks on Orthodox Jewish people in America. It should be clear now that exceptionalizing Jews- whether in a negative or positive light- endangers us and keeps us forever at risk
— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) December 29, 2019
A recent poll by the Orthodox Jewish magazine Ami found that support for Trump among Orthodox Jews has risen from 54% to 89% over the past three years.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.