Gov. Andrew Cuomo Calls Anti-Semitic Hanukkah Stabbing “Domestic Terrorism”

Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling for a federal investigation.

Members and supporters of the Jewish community come together for a candlelight vigil in Washington, DC.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty

Update, 3:24 pm ET: President Trump responded on Sunday to the anti-Semitic attacks in a township north of New York City. He called the attacks, which injured five people, “horrific.” He continued: “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”

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Five people were stabbed and wounded at a Hanukkah gathering in a suburb north of New York City on Saturday night. All were taken to the hospital and one person is reported to have been gravely injured, according to police, who identified the suspect as Grafton E. Thomas, a 37-year-old from Greenwood Lake, New York.  

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement late Saturday night calling the attack a “despicable and cowardly act.” He also said that he is directing the state police’s hate crimes task force to investigate.

The attack happened in a small town called Monsey, which has become home to a growing community of Hasidic Jewish families. According to witnesses, more than 100 people were gathered in the home of a rabbi to celebrate the seventh day of Hanukkah. Aron Kohn, 65, who witnessed the attack, recounted some of the horrifying details in the New York Times. “We saw him pull a knife out of a case, it was about the size of a broomstick,” Kohn said. “I was praying for my life. He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn’t have time to react at all.”

This is the second high-profile anti-Semitic attack in the region in less than a month; on December 10, two people opened fire inside a Kosher market in Jersey City. The New York Times reports at least eight anti-Semitic incidents across New York City in just the last two weeks.

On Sunday morning, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for a “thorough federal investigation” into the recent uptick in anti-Semitic attacks.

The AP reports that Police Chief Brad Weidel said the suspect will face five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.

New York City has long been home to a large Jewish community. Sunday morning, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Oren Segal, Anti-Defamation League vice president, said. “We are in an epidemic in New York City, of all places, for the Jewish community.”

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