A Jewish man said he was attacked for wearing an Israeli military hoodie, CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reported Tuesday.READ MORE: Suspect Sought In Possible Antisemitic Hate Crime Attack In Brooklyn
The victim said he was in front of a Foot Locker in Bay Ridge when he was approached by two men he didn’t know. He said one of the men took issue with his clothing and began yelling anti-Jewish slurs at him before punching him in the face.
“I’m feeling like upset, like devastated. I don’t think this should be going on just because of a sweatshirt or what people believe,” Blake Zavadsky said. “I still can’t believe it today that’s it’s going on in the United States … all this. To me, personally, I’ve never had anything like this occur in my life.”
Two days after he says he was attacked for being Jewish, 21-year-old Zavadsky remains in shock over what happened to him.
“I don’t think I should be targeted because of my faith. There’s so much other faiths and I’m not going to target their faith because they don’t believe what I believe,” Zavadsky said.
Zavadsky said he and his friend were walking on 86th Street near 4th Avenue on Sunday morning when the men approached them. One of them men took issue with Zavadsky’s Israel Defense Forces hoodie.
The attacker wanted him to take it off, but Zavadsky refused.
“He called us ‘dirty Jews’ and that’s all I remember,” Zavadsky said. “Then they said ‘If you’re not going to take it off, we’re going to punch you.’ They punched me twice … and then threw iced coffee on my sweater.”READ MORE: Christina Darling Arrested After Allegedly Spitting On Children In Brooklyn, Making Antisemitic Remarks
Zavadsky said he was overwhelmed by pain after the hit.
His friend, who is also Jewish, escaped unharmed physically.
Police have now released images of one of the men who is believed to be involved.
Yesterday, two Jewish men were verbally & physically attacked in Brooklyn.
This is abhorrent and unacceptable. Antisemitism & all hate has no home in New York.
The @nyspolice Hate Crimes Task Force is assisting in the investigation & we're ready to offer additional support.
— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) December 27, 2021
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted on Monday, saying, in part, “This is abhorrent and unacceptable. Antisemitism & all hate has no home in New York.”
She added the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force is also investigating.
As for Zavadsky, he said he hopes the people responsible will be caught, but he has no plans to stop wearing his hoodie.
“I’m proud of who I am and that’s not going to stop me from being who I am,” Zavadsky said.
The Anti-Defamation League is offering a reward up to $5,000 for anyone with information that leads to a conviction in the case.
“Hate in any form is completely unacceptable. We all need to stand up against this. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or not Jewish, we need to live in a society where hate is not tolerated,” the ADL’s Scott Richman said.MORE NEWS: Father Speaks Out After Children Spit On In Antisemitic Incident In Brooklyn: 'For An Adult To Do It To A Child Is Beyond Crazy'
CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.