Who is Waseem Awawdeh? Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg slammed for offering plea deal to antisemitic NYC attacker
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: A violent antisemitic attacker could be back on the streets amid mounting anti-Jewish attacks in New York City. The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has offerred a plea deal to a defendant involved in the savage antisemitic attack on a Jewish man in Midtown, according to the Canary Mission watchdog.
Waseem Awawdeh, 24, was among a group of violent criminals who on May 20, 2021, attacked Joseph Borgen, who was wearing a yarmulke and walking to a pro-Israel demonstration near Broadway and West 49th Street. Borgen, an Upper East Side accountant, said his attackers shouted "F-k Israel, Hamas is going to kill all of you" as they lunged at him, the New York Times reported.
"If I could do it again, I would do it again," Awawdeh told one of his jailers before his appearance in Manhattan criminal court, according to a prosecutor's report. The original indictment against Awawdeh called for a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Under the terms of the plea agreement, his sentence would be reduced to six months.
“It is outrageous that the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is willing to let Awawdeh, who is violent and unrepentant, back on the streets of New York after only six months,” Canary Mission said in a statement. “With skyrocketing attacks on Jews in New York—close to 200 documented cases since 2018, there have been only two convictions that resulted in prison sentences." “We have only one question: Why?” Canary Mission asked, as reported by JNS.
Antisemitic hate crimes committed by Awawdeh
In addition to Borgen, Awawdeh and the gang attacked another Israel supporter on the same day. While Ahmad Othman, another pro-Palestinian activist, punched the man, knocking him to the ground, Awawdeh raised his crutch and angrily punched him. Awawdeh also spat at a policewoman who was trying to create a barrier between the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators at the same event.
That same day, Awawdeh was seen with other pro-Palestinian protesters in the back of a pickup truck driving a convoy through Manhattan's predominantly Jewish diamond district. Awawdeh was seen waving his crutch solemnly as another demonstrator, Mohammed Othman, threw a rocket at a passerby. A woman was injured by the firecracker and had to be hospitalized. While police and bystanders tended to the victim, Awadeh and other anti-Israel protesters, some of whom were on foot and others in cars, shouted obscenities. Awawdeh later returned to the scene on foot. He was arrested for his attack on Borgen while fleeing from police.
Awawdeh was freed three days later after paying a $10,000 bond. Friends greeted him and yelled, "Raise your head up! … You a f****** Hero!!" Then Awawdeh's buddies lifted him onto their shoulders while he was still using his crutch. "Free, free Palestine!" was screamed by his companions, and Awawdeh reciprocated by pumping his arms in victory.
Plea agreement lessens Awadeh's charges
Awawdeh was initially charged with gang-related assault, threatening aggravated harassment as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a weapon. According to Canary Mission, a guilty plea would result in the charge being downgraded to a Class D felony of violence, which typically carries a sentence of three to seven years in New York. Awadeh will receive a six-month sentence if he pleads guilty to these lesser offenses without a trial.
The original indictment against Awawdeh provided for a prison sentence of up to ten years. Under the terms of the plea agreement, his sentence would be reduced to six months.
According to the New York Police Department, 45 antisemitic hate crimes were reported in the city last month, an average of one every 16 hours. That's a 125 per cent increase over the same period last year. In November, anti-Jewish violence accounted for 60 per cent of all hate crimes in the city, significantly more than any other minority group.