NY EMS provider says he was assaulted in Las Vegas for being Jewish
Las Vegas police are investigating after the EMS provider said he was shoved to the ground by a man who said "Jews are not going to exist anymore"
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
NEW YORK — Paul Lebowitz, a Willowbrook native and a New York City EMT, was enjoying vacation with his family this week when he was forcefully shoved to the ground, causing his head to slam on the floor and leaving him with a concussion.
Lebowitz said he was looking for a table for his wife and son at a restaurant located on Las Vegas Boulevard in the early afternoon on Monday when he struck up a conversation with a man sitting nearby with his family.
When the man asked Lebowitz, who was wearing a Jewish star on his chest, where he was from, he replied, " New York." The man said he was from Palestine, Lebowitz told the Advance/SILive.com during a phone call Thursday.
"I said, it turns out I'm from Palestine too — it's where my roots are," Lebowitz recalled.
Soon after, the otherwise cordial conversation began to become heated as the talk shifted to the Middle East. That's when Lebowitz said he recommended the two "agree to disagree."
"There's nothing wrong with that," said Lebowitz. "That's what America is all about."
But the disagreement continued and the man allegedly told Lebowitz, "Your people are not going to exist anymore."
When the Willowbrook resident questioned the man on what he meant by the statement, the man replied: "Jews are not going to exist anymore," according to Lebowitz.
"I said, listen ... the Jews have been around over 5,000 years," Lebowitz said. "Jews will survive."
When the man began to leave with his family, Lebowitz held his star in his hand and said he was "a proud Jew" before the two came close to one another.
Suddenly, the man screamed out "baby killers" and put his hand in Lebowitz's face before pushing him back onto the ground, Lebowitz said.
A paramedic for decades, Lebowitz said he was keenly aware of the potential internal damages he could have suffered but was able to call 911 himself as his family attempted to follow the alleged attacker.
His wife was able to eventually flag down an officer, but by the time police arrived the man was nowhere to be seen.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed a report of battery at the coffee shop and added, "Detectives are currently reviewing surveillance video of the incident as part of the investigation, which is ongoing."
"This incident is being investigated to determine if the suspect's actions were motivated by bias ideology," the department said.
Lebowitz is resolute about the motivation for the incident: "It's an anti-Jewish attack."
"People come from any other country in the world, they come here because they have freedom to be able to walk around and be themselves," said Lebowitz. "You can have black skin, you have dark skin ... you're Asian, you're Jewish, you should be able to walk the streets anywhere."
INCIDENTS INVOLVING S.I.'ERS
The alleged assault on Lebowitz comes just days before Staten Island officials condemned attacks against Jewish and Asian New Yorkers that have seen a concerning increase in recent months.
Just days ago, a heated confrontation between pro- Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Manhattan resulted in arrests and the brutal beating of a 29-year-old Jewish man. A 25-year-old Staten Islander was among those arrested and charged with multiple hate crimes in connection with the incident.
"I didn't put it behind me," Lebowitz said of the attack. "I told the cops I would press charges if they find this guy because you have to put your foot in the ground."
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