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New York Cafe Endures More Antisemitism

The owner of a coffee shop on the Upper East Side is speaking out after he said his business has been the target of several antisemitic incidents since last October.

Aaron Dahan, owner of Caffe Aronne, said the most recent incident happened Tuesday afternoon when he claims a woman walked into his shop and stole handmade cards dedicated to Israeli hostages. Moments later another woman was seen on surveillance video taking a teddy bear holding a sign with pictures of child hostages and leaving the shop shortly after. These are just two of several incidents in the last five months, according to Dahan. The coffee shop owner said back in November someone spray-painted “Gaza” on the shop’s window. 

“We’ve had several times people would drive by at night and honk and scream out their windows, ‘gas the Jews,’” Dahan said.

In November PIX11 News covered how the community rallied around the shop, which saw a line stretch down Lexington Avenue, after four of their employees, expressing pro-Palestinian views, abruptly walked off the job. More support for the shop could be seen Wednesday after the most recent incident, when two women stopped by to donate new teddy bears.

“We just wanted to show that if you mess with us, we will come back in force,” said Upper East Side resident Caroline Leventhal. “So, one teddy bear is gone, and you will see this whole window will be filled with teddy bears.”

While the shop has gotten much community support, Dahan said the tension in the city has impacted business.

“We’ve definitely lost a lot of customers, we’ve had events that we had booked, canceled,” Dahan said. 

As the war rages on overseas, he’s now hoping for peaceful solutions here at home.

“Have a dialogue,” said Dahan. “Understand that we’re all neighbors, we’re all part of one larger community, we’re all New Yorkers and we’re in it together.”

Dahan said he filed a police report Tuesday when the teddy bear incident happened. Police told PIX11 News that the NYPD Hate Crime Unit was notified and the investigation remains ongoing.