2 charged with hate crime for attack on Arab teacher outside AIPAC conference

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Washington police charged two men with a hate crime for an assault on an Arab teacher allegedly carried out by members of the Jewish Defense League outside this week’s AIPAC conference.

The police report released Thursday by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department lists Kamal Nayfeh as the victim.

972 Magazine, which reported Thursday on the attack, said that Nayfeh, 55, is an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. According to the college website, Nayfeh has taught networking technology there for 16 years.

The alleged assailants are not named in the police report, but a police spokeswoman identified them as Yosef Steynovitz, 32, of Canada, who was charged with assault with significant bodily injury, and Rami Lubranicki, 59, of Howell, New Jersey, who was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

In both instances, “suspected hate crime” based on “anti-Arab” bias is added as “other felony involved.” Hate crimes, if added to a conviction, automatically increase penalties.

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According to the police report, Nayfeh said he got into a “verbal altercation” with Steynovitz, who then punched Nafeh “about the face area.” Nayfeh fell to the ground, according to the report, and Lubranicki kicked him in his side and hit him in the right eye with a wooden pole.

Ben White, a freelance journalist, posted a photo of Nayfeh’s injuries.

The JTA reached out through LinkedIn to Steynovitz and Lubranicki for comment on the charges. They did not reply. In 2015, Lubranicki appeared on The Glazov Group, a conservative news channel on YouTube, as the founder of American Bikers United Against Jihad. He identified himself as an Israeli-born Jewish American.

About 500-600 activists heeded a call by IfNotNow, the Jewish anti-establishment group, to protest this week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, which drew 18,000 attendees. Several dozen counter-protesters bearing t-shirts and flags identified with the Jewish Defense League also appeared, and there were several clashes between the two groups.

Meir Weinstein, who is reportedly the national director of the Canadian JDL, in a video released on Facebook, said that individuals affiliated with the group acted only in self-defense. Weinstein alleged that videos of the incident were “selectively spliced.”

“We’re going to be releasing a lot more information to put everything into context,” Weinstein said.