"A pro-Palestinian activist who committed a series of attacks on Jews in New York City in 2021 and 2022 discussed bringing firebombs to a pro-Israel rally, bragged about antisemitic assaults and plotted how to evade law enforcement, according to federal prosecutors.
Saadah Masoud pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit hate crimes in federal court in November as part of a plea agreement. His sentencing for separate attacks on three Jews will be held on Friday in the Southern District Court of New York. He faces up to two years in prison.
In a sentencing submission last week, prosecutors laid out discussions Masoud held with his associates around the time of the crimes that indicated the attacks were planned and targeted people they believed to be Jewish or Israeli. Masoud’s defense said the attacks were politically and personally motivated.
In May of 2021, around the time of a conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group, Masoud discussed disrupting a pro-Israel rally in Manhattan in a group chat on the Signal messaging app.
The group discussed bringing weapons to the pro-Israel rally, including Molotov cocktails, prosecutors said.
One of the participants said, ‘Remember, don’t chant out Jews, it’s the Zionists,’ apparently to evade allegations of antisemitism. Many Jewish advocates hold that anti-Zionism is often a cover for antisemitism. Masoud expressed support for the statement in the group chat.
Another participant in the group chat said, ‘F*** all Jews.’
‘The defendant’s attempt to place his actions in the context of international affairs… should be given little, if any credence,’ prosecutors wrote. ‘The veil of ‘anti-Zionism’ is pathetically thin in this case.’...
Masoud has ties to Within Our Lifetime Palestine, an activist group that regularly calls for an intifada and the destruction of Israel at rallies in New York, and urged the targeting of Jewish groups in the city, including by handing out maps of Jewish organization locations at a protest.
Federal hate crime charges are relatively rare, and most suspected hate incidents in New York do not result in a conviction. The feds are taking up the Masoud case amid complaints from the Jewish community about the lack of penalties against anti-Jewish attackers, and criticism of cashless bail laws that often let assailants free shortly after their arrest...
Jews are targeted in hate crimes in New York more than any other group."