EX-California Rideshare Driver Taken Into Custody For Anti-semitic Attack

A former California rideshare driver was arrested Wednesday for punching a passenger he thought was Jewish or from Israel.

The event occurred on October 26 at San Francisco International Airport, amid a surge in antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents reported across the United States in response to Israel’s war against Iran-backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The indictment claims that a ridesharing company that isn’t named hired Csaba John Csukás, 39, to pick up a client from a California airport and drive them home.

Prosecutors claim that when Csukás approached the passenger at the prearranged spot, he inquired whether they were Jewish or Israeli.

Csukás “stated that he would not transport a Jewish or Israeli person” and “attacked the victim by striking the victim in the face with his fist,” according to the Justice Department.

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The Daly City resident made his first court appearance on Wednesday and has been charged with a federal hate crime for hurting someone because of their real or suspected religion or national origin, which affects interstate commerce.

If convicted, Csukás faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“No one in this country should live in fear because of how they worship or where they come from,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

The Justice Department will vigorously pursue those who engage in hate-motivated violence stemming from antisemitism or other forms of bias.

Lyft, the rideshare operator, verified to UPI via email that the driver was hired through their service and has now been removed from its platform.

“Lyft unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism and all other forms of discrimination on the basis of religion or country of origin,” according to a spokesperson for the company.

“We have contacted the rider to extend our support and assistance, permanently removed the driver’s account from the platform, and assisted law enforcement with their investigation.”

Since the war in Israel began on October 7 with Hamas’ surprise attack on the Middle Eastern country, there has been an increase in reports of hate-related events targeting both Jewish and Arab people in the United States.

According to the Jewish advocacy group Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidences of harassment, vandalism, and assault increased by 388% between October 7 and October 23, following the commencement of the conflict.

Days later, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the threat of anti-Semitism in the United States has reached “historic levels.”

By January 7, the ADL reported 3,291 instances.

From October to December, the Council of American Islamic Relations received 3,578 accusations of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hatred. According to the group, the number of such complaints increased by 178% from the previous year.

“When taking public transportation, whether a taxi, bus, or rideshare, customers should not be profiled, or worse, attacked, by drivers because of their nationality or religion,” U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey for the Northern District of California said in a statement.

“We will prosecute any ride-share driver who assaults a passenger in such hate-fueled violence.”

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Jimmy Clyde
Jimmy Clyde
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