A player for the New York Red Bulls has spoken out about a horrifying incident in the Big Apple in which he claims a group of Palestinian men approached him, asked if he was Jewish and pulled out knives.
Luca Lewis, a goalkeeper for the soccer team, wrote in an Instagram post Friday that as he was strolling in Manhattan with a pal on Thursday night “all of a sudden a group of 6-8 Palestinian men walk up to me and asked me where I was from.”
“I responded and said ‘New York,’” the 20-year-old wrote, explaining that one man in the group then asked him whether he was Jewish.
“I paused for a moment in confusion and thought about it, [then] I saw them withdrawing knives,” he recalled. “I obviously said no. The guy looked at me with such disgust in his eyes and said ‘Good.’”
Lewis continued, “As I started walking away, I got extremely angry and felt I had to say something. So I turned back around and said to him ‘What if I was Jewish?’”
That’s when Lewis says the band of men got in his face “and the same guy says ‘I’ll beat the f—king sh-t out of you and kill you.’”
“As I was face to face with this guy I told him ‘What is the need for that,” Lewis wrote.
The soccer player said the man charged at him, but backed off after women who were with the group “screamed at him to stop and to let it go,” according to Lewis.
“Luckily my friend and I were fine. However if I was visibly Jewish, I don’t know what would of happened to me,” said Lewis. “Everyone who is ‘visibly Jewish now has to be scared to walk around in New York in peace and that’s a huge problem.”
“I personally believe there is wrong in both sides. However this constant promotion of violence is getting out of hand,” said Lewis. “It’s [sad] to say that it is not safe to walk around such a diverse city like New York where everyone’s culture, race, and ethnicity is welcomed and given the ability to live together in peace away from all discrimination.”
He added, “Why promote violence when peace is the best alternative.”
Lewis noted in the post that he typically does not speak out “on current political events,” but “last night I was extremely angry and I believe everyone should know about this.”
“Growing up between Italy and New York I never experienced discrimination in my life. However after personally feeling what discrimination feels like, I have to speak out,” he wrote.
Lewis called the people of Israel and Palestine “both amazing human beings who deserve to live in peace together.”
Anti-Semitic incidents have surged across the US and online amid the deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas terrorists, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Violent clashes also erupted Thursday between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Times Square.