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Jewish Politician in Finland Brutally Beaten, Threatened with Death and Antisemitic Abuse

UPDATE March 31, 2023: Video footage of the attack has been released. Surveillance and bystanders snagged a photo of the perpetrator. The identity has yet to be confirmed by officials; more here.

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A Jewish Finnish lawmaker – Ben Zyskowic – was viciously assaulted by an antisemite who threatened to kill him by pushing him onto subway tracks.

The attack Zyskowicz, 68, was denounced by Finland’s senior politicians, the Associated Press reported.

Zyskowicz was physically assaulted on Saturday as he campaigned for the country’s April 2 general elections. He told local media that a large man suddenly accosted him at a subway station in Helsinki, which he represents in the Finnish parliament.

The suspect, who was described as between 30 and 40, began screaming at Zyskowicz, claiming he was to blame for Finland’s decision to seek membership in NATO and hurling antisemitic abuse at him. According to the politician, the man also threatened to push him onto the subway tracks and to kill him, Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reported.

At that point, the man physically attacked Zyskowicz, punching him in the face hard enough to knock him to the ground.

“Under no circumstances must physically attacking candidates become part of Finnish society, not even as an entirely marginal phenomenon,” Zyskowicz told the news outlet.

The suspect was later arrested by police.

Zyskowicz, a member of the center-right National Coalition Party which is leading in election polls, has been a member of the Finnish parliament for over four decades.

Reacting to the incident, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö tweeted: “This is a cowardly act that harms Finnish democracy.”

The European Jewish Congress said it was “shocked and deeply disturbed” by the attack.

“We strongly condemn the antisemitic assault to Ben and stand in solidarity with the Jewish Community of Finland,” the EJC said.