The orthodox Jewish victim of a hate crime in Manhattan, Joseph Borgen, said in court that he couldn’t “fathom” why the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office offered a plea deal to his assailant.
In May 2021, as Borgen was wearing a yarmulka and on his way to a pro-Israel event in Times Square, he was viciously attacked by a mob of pro-Palestinian rioters.
At the Manhattan Supreme Court sentencing of Waseem Awawdeh, 24, for assaulting Borgen, Borgen gave a ferocious victim impact statement.
Awawdeh received an 18-month jail term.
Borgen questioned the court: “Why is he getting a break?
I really can’t understand why he’s getting a deal.
Me personally, I wanted to go to trial; I wanted to see full justice.”
Borgen believed that the punishment was insufficient.
He exploded, “What kind of message does this send to everyone, to all victims of hate crime?
You can say you won’t do it again, get arrested while on bail, do whatever you want, and you know what?
We’ll give you a slap on the wrist—it’s okay!”
In front of a courtroom full of more than 30 supporters, Borgen described his experience and explained to the judge how the attack has continued to cause him mental and bodily pain.
“The behavior of the group was despicable.
This is not how people behave in a civilized society,” Judge Felicia Mennin said in support of the punishment.
Although Borgen alleged that his assailants branded him a “dirty Jew,” Awawdeh’s attorney, Peter Frankel, shakily asserted that Awawdeh is not antisemitic.
“I have spent countless hours and days with Mr. Abudah.
I am a lifelong New Yorker. I am a Jew. I have not seen anything at all in my dealings with him to indicate that he is in any way antisemitic.
Yes, he made a mistake here, and from day one, he has agreed to accept responsibility for what he has done,” Frankel said.
When he was handcuffed and carried out of court, Awawdeh grinned and nodded to a few witnesses while remaining silent during the punishment process.
Around 6:30 p.m., a young guy wearing a black bandana began pursuing Borgen as he was heading toward a pro-Israel protest while donning a gray yarmulka.
I believed I was going to pass away. I truly believed I was going to pass away.
Eight to ten people, according to Borgen, were involved in the beating, and they were chanting epithets such as “You filthy Jew.” You will be ***** killed by us. Return to Israel. Hamas will execute you. The moment they pepper-sprayed him at the end was the most agonizing.
‘I felt a stream on my face and assumed I was being urinated on.
They maced me or pepper sprayed me continuously for almost a minute.