A man living in Janesville, Wisconsin attacked two Hebrew-speaking men yesterday believing them to be speaking Spanish. After demanding that they speak English, he punched both men in the face. The assailant was charged with two counts of battery as well as committing a hate crime. It's pretty unclear how the assailant became confused.
Just so we're all clear, Hebrew sounds like this:
Spanish, in the meantime, sounds like this:
You would have to have rocks in your head, or possibly something worse, in order to confuse the two languages. Maybe it didn't even matter to the assailant, who was probably motivated by good old white supremacist xenophobia.
Documented hate attacks against Jewish Americans are actually more common than hate attacks against Latinos, according to the FBI.
It's quite possible the only thing more reprehensible than a bigoted attack is a misdirected bigoted attack. For the last decade, as Islamophobic speech and attacks have increased in the United States, Sikhs have experienced a similar rise in violence. Last year, in the most tragic manifestation of this trend, six people were killed and four wounded as a Wisconsin Sikh temple was attacked by a racially-motivated gunman. Just over a month ago, Sikh Columbia Professor Prabhjot Singh was attacked by a group of Harlem men who called him a "terrorist" and "Osama" on 110th St. in uptown Manhattan.