A man was spotted on the Upper West Side tearing down posters of Israeli hostages on Tuesday.
The unknown man who had mutton chops, long grey hair, glasses and appeared to be white, was photographed ripping down the hostage posters on 96th and Broadway.
According to a witness who asked not to be identified to protect her safety, “He was just calmly ripping them off, crumpling them into balls like it was no big deal. He didn’t seem worried about anybody seeing him.”
But he was seen, and photographed, in a plaid button down, khaki pants and brown hiking boots.
“I was walking by feeling angry about what I was seeing, and realized I needed to take a picture,” she told ILTUWS. “I was so upset that someone could be so callous and not care about civilian lives. Regardless of his political feelings, these are civilians: innocent people, held hostage.”
Anti-Semitic incidents have been happening across the city.
On Tuesday, swastikas were found graffitied outside of and across the street from 2nd Ave Deli on the Upper East Side, and on Thursday, a woman was punched in the face at Grand Central Station. The man who punched her told her, point blank, that he did so because she’s Jewish.
“As a Jew it scares me,” the witness said. “It reminds me of the stories I heard from my grandparents of their childhood in Germany.”
The man pictured above is not alone: posters of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas are being torn down from Union Square to the Upper East Side. Last week, an Israeli student was assaulted at Columbia University after he confronted his attacker ripping posters down outside the main campus library. At NYU, students were spotted tearing posters down outside the school’s Tisch Hall.
That incident, and one of the student’s subsequent apologies, was one of the reasons the photographer decided to go public, she said. “I was inspired by the NYU student who took responsibility for her actions and I thought maybe there was room for education.”
But, she added, actions have consequences. “The world needs to know about this human’s disregard for human lives…I hope he faces consequences for his anti-Semitism.”
Israeli artists Dede Bandaid and Nitzan Mintz are the people behind the posters. They’ve created a website, kidnappedfromisrael.com, where each poster can be downloaded and shared. You can also follow their project on Instagram @kidnappedfromisrael, where they describe their “Global effort to bring attention to the abducted infants, children, women, men, elderly and soldiers – one flyer at a time!”
“With the clear goal of returning these hostages back home safely and immediately, thousands of people have been hanging photos of the hostages in dozens of cities around the world, pasting up posters that were circulated via dropbox for individuals to print independently.”
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