04 July 2021

Jewish man ‘threatened with punches’ while on his way home in central London

04 July 2021

A Jewish man who was abused twice in one hour in central London was physically threatened while on his way home because of his appearance, his brother said.

Yochai Liberov, a researcher from North London, was sitting on a bus to Oxford Street at around 11.40pm on July 3 when another passenger got up and began to “verbally assault” him.

Later on, Mr Liberov left the bus and while walking down the escalator at Oxford Circus London Underground station, he was subject to “anti-Semitic behaviour” by a group of males, according to officers.

Mr Liberov’s brother, who asked not to be named, said he was targeted because he looked “obviously Jewish” and added the offenders “were not concerned about the repercussions”.

The Metropolitan Police which said Mr Liberov was subjected to “a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse” while travelling on the bus, and British Transport Police have launched separate investigations into the incidents.

Mr Liberov’s brother said Mr Liberov has been left “very shaken” as a result.

He told the PA news agency: “The bus incident happened when the suspect noticed my brother. There was no prior communication before they lashed out [at him].

“It wasn’t just a mere verbal assault. He was very close to being physically attacked by this vicious assailant.”

Mr Liberov’s brother said the passenger leaned in close to his face and tried to punch him but Mr Liberov stopped him.

“He was shouting angrily ‘I’ll give you an uppercut, I’ll give you an uppercut’,” he said.

Mr Liberov then managed to “de-escalate” the situation by talking to the passenger, but still was faced with “ugly racist remarks and death threats,” the brother added.

The incident ended after the bus driver called the police, he said.

Describing how he felt when Mr Liberov told him what he had experienced, the brother said: “I was upset since this is an experience I’ve myself had many times as a kid. Not necessarily death threats like this but lots of verbal assaults, things thrown from cars.

“I’m not religious like my brother so I don’t look obviously Jewish to be a target this way.

“It’s the fact that anti-Semites are willing to do this when knowing there is CCTV means we’ve reached the level where they’re not concerned about repercussions.”

According to his brother, Mr Liberov was wearing a hat and kippah that evening.

Footage from the first incident, which was published online on Sunday, showed the passenger calling Mr Liberov a “F****** Jewish dude” and then getting off the bus and banging on the doors.

A video clip of the second incident showed a group of males going down an escalator at a tube station in London before turning around and appearing to abuse Mr Liberov.

In the video, one man can be heard chanting “F****** hate you Jew”, while another says “We’ve got a Jew behind us” and another says “there’s about nine Jews” before the words “F****** hate you Jew” are chanted again.

Some of the males filmed were wearing England shirts while others wore the flag of St George draped around their shoulders.

No arrests have been made in either of the incidents and inquiries are ongoing.

Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing operations and security at TfL, said: “We are appalled by the shocking incidents. All our customers have the right to travel without fear of abuse or intimidation, and hate crime has absolutely no place on our network.

“We stand against hate crime and are looking into these incidents urgently with the police. We urge anyone who experiences or witnesses hate crime to report it to the police immediately. It’s important that people tell us so we can stop it from happening again.”

Any witnesses for the first incident are being urged to contact the Met on 101 and quote 8333/3July and witnesses for the second incident should call British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or text 61016 quoting ref 90 of 4 July 2021.

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