Jewish leader attacked by pro-Palestinian assailant after Nets-Maccabi game


NEW YORK (JTA) – Leonard Petlakh, the head of a Jewish Y in Brooklyn, was attacked by a pro-Palestinian protester following the exhibition basketball game between the NBA’s Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Petlakh, the executive director of the Kings Bay Y, said he required eight stitches and his nose was broken after being punched on Tuesday night while exiting the Barclays Center arena following the Nets’ 111-94 victory.

Prior to the game, a reception was held to raise funds for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Fans verbally sparred inside the arena as the game was ending when pro-Palestinian protesters began shouting slogans and a pro-Israel fan grabbed a Palestinian flag from one of the protesters, according to Petlakh.

As the crowds spilled out of the arena and onto the street, one of the protesters took a swing at Petlakh, who was with his 14- and 10-year-old sons.

“The last thing I remember is this guy screaming ‘Free Palestine’ and then a really strong punch,” Petlakh told JTA. “To get bloodied in front of your kids, it really crosses all the red lines.”

The assailant ran away and Petlakh sought medical care. He reported the incident to the police, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

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