Published On: Wed, Feb 25th, 2015

Jewish Passenger Threatened by Antisemitic New York Cab Driver

Baila Sebrow said the way the officers handled the incident was "disheartening."

Baila Sebrow

While much focused has been placed justifiably on the rise of anti-semitism in Europe, there are also incidents on the streets of New York.

Baila Sebrow, a columnist for the 5 Towns Jewish Times newspaper, was surprised when she was asked by a cab driver if she was Jewish immediately after she hailed the taxi. When she responded in the affirmative after she had gotten in the cab, the driver immediately went into a an anti-semitic tirade exclaiming “All Jews must die!” He then made gun trigger motions with his hands.

“Then he started driving fast in a really crazy way. I thought he would crash, ” Sebrow told CBS. When she demanded he drive her to the hotel, he complied, but then insisted on the full $30 even though he had left the meter running during the argument. Sebrow dialed 911, but the officer demanded that she pay the driver and told her she could settle her complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Sebrow’s attorney, Bob Tolchin, thinks the officer didn’t understand what Sebrow was complaining about, which explains the dismissive way in which the matter was handled. “When the police came, ” Tolchin told CBS, “I think they didn’t understand what happened and they told her she had to pay him. The driver had the meter running the whole time. Going nowhere ended up costing her $30 … he definitely should not be on the road. If people are going to be bringing whatever political or religious biases into that job, they shouldn’t be driving taxis.”

Sebrow felt the way the officers behaved toward her was “disheartening.” An NYPD spokesman, however, accused Sebrow of behaving “belligerently” towards the police. Sebrow told CBS, “My first thought was, ‘Oh my Gosh, this guy is going on his merry way, and he’ll do this to someone else. The next person might not be so lucky. So all I was able to do was to warn people. I felt helpless, powerless to do anything else.”

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