Cops: Man Hit Woman With Car at Pro-Palestinian Protest

NYC real estate developer is related to founder of Jewish Defense League
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 9, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
NYC Man Accused of Driving Into Woman at Pro-Palestinian Protest
Pro-Palestinian student activists face off with New York Police Department officers during a raid on Columbia University's campus at the request of Columbia University President Minouche Shafik on Tuesday evening, April 30, 2024, in New York.   (Seyma Bayram via AP)

A New York real estate developer was charged with felony assault after police said he hit a woman with his car during a pro-Palestinian demonstration led by students connected to the Columbia University protest movement, the AP reports. Reuven Kahane, 57, was arrested Tuesday morning after driving his car into a 55-year-old safety marshal for the protest, according to witnesses and an NYPD spokesperson. The woman, who was treated at a hospital for minor injuries, was also arrested, but charges of criminal mischief against her and another demonstrator were dropped Wednesday by the Manhattan district attorney. Kahane was released from custody while he awaits trial.

Kahane is related to Rabbi Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born founder of the Jewish Defense League, a group that advocated for the removal of Arabs from Israel and orchestrated a string of violent attacks in the US and abroad. Kahane's political party was banned from the Israeli parliament in the 1980s, and the US classified the Jewish Defense League as a terrorist group. He was assassinated in New York in 1990. On Wednesday afternoon, Reuven Kahane, who lives in the Manhattan neighborhood where the protest took place, said he had no link to the Jewish Defense League. Police said the arrest followed a verbal dispute started by protesters involved in the demonstration. The vehicle moved during the confrontation, police said, but Kahane is not accused of trying to mow down a group of protesters.

Several students at the scene disputed the NYPD's version of events. They said they were leaving the home of a university trustee, where they had spent the morning picketing and passing out flyers, when Kahane began heckling the protest from inside his car. They said Kahane tried to drive through a crosswalk where the protesters were walking in a group, prompting one of the volunteer safety marshals, Maryellen Novak, to step in front of the vehicle to block its path. "I saw her put her hands on the hood of the car trying to stop it," said Ava Garcia, one of the protesters. "The car kept moving, and she was pushed to the hood of the car because it was accelerating. It was only when she fell to the ground that the car stopped."

(More pro-Palestinian protesters stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.