Hearings on AIPAC violence delayed until May

Violence outside the AIPAC conference in Washington last month
Screenshot from YouTube

The hearings in D.C. Superior Court for two men accused of assaulting Palestinian-American professor Kamal Nayfeh outside the AIPAC conference in Washington last month have been pushed back to May 15 at the request of both men’s attorneys.

Last month, Yosef Steynovitz, 32, was charged with assault with significant bodily injury, a felony.

Rami Lubranicki, 59, was charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor. An updated incident report released by the Metropolitan Police Department revealed that the police are investigating whether both alleged crimes were hate crimes motivated by “anti-Arab” bias.

The two have not been formally charged with hate crimes, as they have not yet been indicted.


The alleged crimes took place while three groups were protesting outside the AIPAC conference last month. Members of the anti-occupation Jewish group IfNotNow and pro-Palestinian organizations were protesting against the conference. Members of the Jewish Defense League, an organization founded in the 1960s which was classified in 2001 by the FBI as a “right-wing extremist group,” were counter protesting.

Although video of the incident shows men in black and yellow JDL garb kicking Nayfeh, 55, and beating him with a flag pole, it is not clear whether Steynovitz and Lubranicki are members of the JDL.

Earlier this month, nine organizations including the Union for Reform Judaism, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, rabbinic human rights group T’ruah and the American Jewish Committee released a statement condemning the attacks.

“We strongly condemn this violent act and commit to aid any investigation of the perpetrators. There must be zero tolerance for this kind of terrorism and violence,” said the joint statement, which also alleged that the attacks gave a member of IfNotNow a concussion.

IfNotNow condemned the violence and the JDL, and called on AIPAC to do the same.

AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told WJW, “We deplore all violence and any violations of the law that occurred outside of the convention center.”

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