A 55-year old Palestinian-American instructor at a community college in North Carolina was “brutally beaten” by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) while walking by the AIPAC conference in Washington DC on Sunday, according to a video and statement released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) today. The man was identified as Kamal Nayfeh.
The JDL affiliates “punched and kicked him and hit him in the face with flag poles, leaving him with cuts and bruises all over his face and body,” said the IMEU in the statement. Photos were taken of Nayfeh after the and beatings show his face bloodied and bruised.
The video picks up as the violent encounter is in progress. It is unknown what occurred in the moments before filming began.
After the assault, Nayfeh was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital and police arrested two of the JDL members. “One was charged with a misdemeanor and another with felony assault. They have not been charged with a hate crime,” IMEU said.
Nayfeh’s daughter Danya released a statement on the incident where she questioned why those arrested were not charged with the enhancement of a hate crime:
“When I heard the screams and found out my father was being beaten nearby, I was horrified. I ran to him as quickly as I could. He appeared stunned and his eye looked awful, all swollen and cut up. They beat him after they heard he was Palestinian. He was not threatening at all, it’s perfectly clear that my father was brutalized simply because of who he is.
The police, who were already present, took a long time to make an arrest, despite the fact that my father was assaulted in front of plenty of witnesses. The perpetrators were left to freely walk around for a while before being detained. I had to ask the police to take action. I know they could have done more to keep everyone safe from this group, and I don’t know why this wasn’t treated as a hate crime. Our entire family is shaken by this incident. Communities can’t feel safe and secure when the JDL and other hate groups are emboldened by this new hateful atmosphere we’re living in.”
The JDL was founded in New York in 1968. According to the Southern Poverty Center the group was designated “a right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI in a 2000/2001 report. Its members are responsible for attempted bombings of congressional offices and a mosque, planting a smoke bomb in New York, and a number of assaults including beating the staff of Jewish organizations and a holocaust survivor.