Rev. Al Sharpton denounced anti-Semitism Monday after 37-year-old Grafton Thomas from Orange County, New York, was charged with a federal hate crime in the Dec. 28 stabbing of five Jewish people during a Hanukkah celebration.
Sharpton spoke at a press conference at the National Action Network in New York, alongside Black and Jewish leaders, ABC News reports.
“We’ve gathered this morning because over the last several days, there has been several attacks and incidents against members of the Jewish community. If it had been attacks against the members of the black community, we would’ve stood up and spoke out,” Sharpton told reporters amidst a chorus of “amens.”
“We cannot remain silent as we see a consistent pattern of attacks against people based on their faith and based on who they are. And therefore we wanted to convene to say, ‘You can’t fight hate against you unless you’re willing to fight hate against everyone else.’”
Thomas is accused of stabbing five people with a machete at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York. Police are investigating if Thomas is also connected to the unsolved stabbing of a Hasidic rabbi that occurred in late November in the same city, ABC News reports.
The stabbing is a part of a string of attacks on Jews living in the state.
Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the crime “an act of domestic terrorism,” Thomas’ family asserts that Thomas has “no known history of anti-Semitism” but that he does have a history of “profound mental illness.”
The FBI says evidence—which includes Internet searches and Thomas’ journal entries—suggests otherwise. The bureau says Thomas repeatedly conducted an Internet search for “Why did Hitler hate the Jews,” and inserted pictures of a swastika, the Star of David and the words “Nazi Culture” into a journal, The Washington Post reports.
The post also wrote:
Journals discovered in Thomas’ home also include anti-Semitic statements, an FBI officer wrote in the federal complaint. One page questions “why [people] mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide.”Another says that “Hebrew Israelites” have taken from “ebinoid Israelites,” an apparent reference to the Black Hebrew Israelites...
The coming weeks and months will reveal more information, including any of Thomas’s affiliations and if they’re relevant to the incident. What’s for certain now is Sharpton’s words to the black community and the entire country, “You can’t fight hate against you unless you’re willing to fight hate against everyone else.”