Southern Brooklyn

Vernikov to lead march against anti-Semitism

January 1, 2022 Jaime DeJesus
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Councilmember Inna Vernikov will lead a march to protest the attack on a Jewish man in Bay Ridge last Sunday. Marchers will assemble on the corner of Bay Parkway and 86th Street at 12 p.m. on Jan. 2.

Blake Zavadsky, 21, was attacked outside Foot Locker on 86th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues Dec. 26. In a video posted on Vernikov’s Facebook page, Zavadsky said he and a friend were waiting for the store to open when two men called them “dirty Jews” and asked them why they were in the neighborhood.

Zavadsky said the men told him to take off his Israel Defense Forces hoodie. When he refused, one of the men punched him twice and threw iced coffee on his sweatshirt. The other man told Zavadsky’s friend to not get involved or he would get hit too.

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“These boys’ families escaped the former Soviet Union precisely because of incidents such as this one,” Vernikov said. “Jews were beaten, jailed and ostracized just for being Jewish and we escaped to this country for freedom of religion, and here we go again, getting beaten up in broad daylight in the middle of Brooklyn, New York, in the United States of America in 2021.”

Vernikov, who represents the 48th Council District, encouraged marchers to wear Israel Defense Forces hoodies to show support for Zavadsky. 

“We will not be intimidated and we refuse to be victims,” she wrote.

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