‘Rabbi Rambo’ Gary Moskowitz is back. The former police officer and karate black belt—who we profiled in 2009, when he was advocating for arming synagogue members during High Holiday services (there’s video)—is now calling for Jews to defend themselves against the recent spate of so-called ‘knockout’ attacks in New York City.
Moskowitz appeared on CNN yesterday, where he made a few salient points (some people really are dangerously absorbed in their cell phones while walking) but mostly seemed a bit overzealous in his claims (Orthodox Jews might deserve a reputation of being weak, he posits, because “they don’t practice healthy living styles, they don’t eat right often, they don’t exercise regularly, they don’t study martial arts like their counterparts in the secular community”). And then he had CNN host Don Lemon come at him.
The bizarre racial undertones of the segment—Moskowitz saying things like, “what they’re doing is attacking weaker people. It’s very much the animal kingdom,” plus the entirety of the self-defense demonstration—have gotten attention since the segment aired, raising the question of how helpful this segment really was.
Verdict: not particularly helpful at all. Moskowitz’s theatrical performance and blanket assertions draw attention away from the fact that regardless of whether it is in fact part of an organized online-inspired game or not, more than 10 outwardly identifiable Jewish people, several of them elderly, have been randomly attacked across the outer boroughs. In 2013, that’s a pretty frightening prospect.
You can watch the full segment here.