Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Possible Anti-Semitic Attack on Student

by Alana Goodman

The Algemeiner reports on a terrible assault against a Jewish college student in East Lansing, Michigan. At a weekend party, a group of men allegedly asked Zachary Tennen whether he was Jewish before giving the Nazi salute and viciously assaulting him, according to his family:

Tennen, a sophomore at Michigan State University, was approached by the men at a party early on Sunday and asked if he was Jewish, his mother said. The men proceeded to raise their right arms in a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler”, before beating Tennen unconscious. According to Tennen’s mother, 20 people watched while her son had his mouth stapled by the two suspects.

“It’s an awful hate crime, and what he’s gone through emotionally and physically, it’s scary to put it into words,” Tina Tennen told the Indianapolis Star. “Hopefully the worst is behind us. It’s going to be hopefully not too rough.”

Tennen himself issued a statement to the Associated Press:

Zach Tennen told East Lansing police his attackers asked if he was Jewish, and when he responded “yes,” he was punched in the face.

The 19-year-old sophomore from the Detroit suburb of Franklin was recovering Tuesday from jaw surgery. He says the assault took place early Sunday at an off-campus party.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press, Tennen says “no one should ever be subjected to the horror” he experienced.

He says along with punching him, his attackers stapled his mouth.

We still need to wait for more details to come in from the police, but if this was an anti-Semitic attack then it’s one of the most disturbing U.S. incidents in awhile. Tablet reports that Tennen is recovering from his injuries, and he appears to be fully conscious from the photos. Obviously the big concern now is finding the perpetrators and figuring out the motivation behind the assault.

Anti-Semitic violence — if it turns out that’s what this was — is always abhorrent. The fact that these attacks happen rarely in the U.S. can’t be much comfort to the families of the victims. Every single incident is one is too many. But while you can’t completely eradicate bigotry or preempt every individual act of violence, you can hope for justice. And so far, police and MSU officials have reportedly been very responsive in this case.

Alana Goodman


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