Family of Jewish Man Beaten in Anti-Semitic Attack Express Outrage Over Manhattan DA’s Plea Deal  - The Jewish Voice
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Family of Jewish Man Beaten in Anti-Semitic Attack Express Outrage Over Manhattan DA’s Plea Deal 

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Family of Jewish Man Beaten in Anti-Semitic Attack Express Outrage Over Manhattan DA’s Plea Deal 

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The family of Joseph Borgen, 30, a Jewish man who was brutally beaten  by a vicious gang of Palestinian men near a pro-Israel rally in Times Square in the spring of 2021blasted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Thursday for offering a cushy plea deal to one of those men who are accused of the anti-Semitic attack, the Post reported.

On Thursday morning, a group of protestors who also assailed the Manhattan DA’s plea deal gathered at the New York County Criminal Courthouse at 100 Centre Street in lower Manhattan to express their anger at Bragg’s ill conceived plea deal. The demonstration was organized by The Lawfare Rpject and the activist group known as End Jew Hatred.

Speaking to the Post outside of the Manhattan courthouse on Thursday morning, ,” Joseph Borgen’s father, Barry Borgen, said, “It’s disgusting how Mr. Bragg calls himself a crime fighter, the man does nothing.”

The elder Borgen added, “He offered people who tried to kill my son six months in jail, one guy to walk away because maybe he hit him once. It is a hate crime,” according to the Post report.

The Post also reported that Bragg offered a six-month plea bargain to Waseem Awawdeh, 24, who allegedly joined in the May 20, 2021 assault with several others — and defiantly said “I would do it again” after his arrest.

“If I could do it again, I would do it again,” Awawdeh allegedly told a jailer following his arrest. “I have no problem doing it again,” he added, as was reported by the Post.

On that fateful day in May 2021, Joseph Borgen, an Upper East Side accountant was wearing a yarmulke as he walked to a pro-Israel rally near Broadway and West 49th Street in the Times Square area, when he was jumped, beaten and pepper-sprayed, the Post reported.

At the time, Borgen said his attackers called him a “dirty Jew” and yelled “F–k Israel, Hamas is going to kill all of you.”

Residing in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn that has become a hub of pro-Hamas activism, Awawdeh, along with  three Staten Island men, Mahmoud Musa, Faisal Elezzi and Mohammed Othman, were all hit with charges over the attack, including assault as a hate crime and gang assault, the Post reported.

Bragg’s office defended the light sentence earlier this month, telling The Post that  Awawdeh did not initiate the attack but rather was the sixth person to join and left before it was over.

But at his arraignment prosecutors revealed Awawdeh was unrepentant about the vicious attack that he and the other perpetrated against Borgen.

Barry Borgen told The Post that he feared the plea deal offer will only embolden would-be attackers.

“The light sentence shows that it’s open season on anybody, be it an Asian, an African-American, Jewish, Muslim,” he said outside the courthouse where Awawdeh had appeared for a hearing.

“It’s basically open season,” the elder Borgen told the Post. “If you can’t prosecute, put people away for a hate crime, I don’t know what else is there besides murder, God forbid. It’s just disgusting, it’s not right.”

The younger Borgen said he still looks over his shoulder since the attack.“I feel like I have a target on my back sometimes, but it’s getting better and better,” he told the Post.

“I think they’re doing the best job they can do at this point,” Borgen said of the prosecutors, according to the Post report. “There is ultimately, hopefully going to be a trial with some of the defendants in this case, however many there are, we’ll see.”

“Hopefully the DA does their job and brings accountability and justice to everyone who deserves it,” he added.

When the Post asked the younger Borgen what it was like to face Awawdeh in court, he said, “It’s unsettling.”

In the attack, captured on video, Borgen was knocked to the ground by a group of five or six men who punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed and struck him with crutches, the Post reported. He suffered a concussion, and was briefly hospitalized after the attack. The report indicated that Borgen’s alleged assailants are due back in court March 9.

Speaking to the Jewish Voice only days after the brutal attack on him in May 2021, the younger Borgen described what he went through in the hours following the assault.

“I felt a liquid being poured on my face and at first I thought I was getting urinated on, but it turned out I was getting maced and pepper sprayed. My face was on fire. That pain was worse than the concussion and all this other stuff that followed,” said Borgen from his home where he was recuperating from multiple injuries he sustained including a black eye, a concussion and bruises all over his body.

“I got off the subway at 6:30 and started walking to the rally and even texted a friend to say that I am on my way. Before I could even make it to the rally, a few blocks away, a guy started chasing me. I tried to get away, and the next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a whole crowd of people who proceeded to kick me, punch me, beat me down,” he told the Jewish Voice,

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Borgen said that he really wanted to find out why these people hated him so much. “The look of hate was definitely in their eyes, but I felt that despite our cultural, religious and political differences, we should all try to get along, “ he said.

In the conversation with the Jewish Voice, Borgen said that he really appreciated the outpouring of support that he has received since this horrific event. “One detective who is working on this case told me that he hasn’t slept since it happened and he is totally committed to bringing the others in the gang to justice. For that and much more, I am exceptionally grateful,” he said.


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