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Fake: Video Of Hasidic Jews Being Blasted With ‘Fire Hose’ In NYC Originally From Jerusalem

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It’s important to fact check information before passing it on to others. It mostly takes a mere Google search to find out if something is accurate or not. During this pandemic, or any national emergency, misinformation can even cost lives or spread undue panic. But spreading misinformation is wrong even during normal times.

Two videos were sent in a large whatsapp group recently claiming Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, Brooklyn were protesting and that police brought in a fire truck to disperse them and blast them with water. The post which was forwarded in the group of hundreds of members went on to say the police “…blasted them with the Firehose. Finally they see and feel how Black people are treated.”

Before even doing a simple fact checking it was not difficult to notice that the first video did not look like NYC. The fire trucks also did not look like the fire trucks in the United States and there was writing in Hebrew on the storefronts in the background. The second video however was of a clearly marked NYPD police car driving through a crowded NYC street asking those at a funeral to not to be standing so close and abide by the restrictions put in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

After a quick google search, I found that the first video was actually of a protest in Jerusalem in 2017. https://www.timesofisrael.com/video-shows-passerby-blasted-by-water-cannon-at-jerusalem-protest/

According to the Times of Israel, the 2017 protest was of ultra-Orthodox youths protesting the imprisonment of a seminary student. The video in fact showed a Muslim woman being blasted by the water cannon as she accidentally got caught up in the mayhem while crossing the street. That is a far cry from the original post. If Hasidic Jews were being blasted with a water cannon in NYC, we can be sure that an accredited news agency would cover it. If no reliable sources can be found we can be pretty sure it is not authentic news.

The actual story that did take place in NYC is that the NYPD did try to break up funerals of Hasidic Jews, one of them in Williamsburg Brooklyn was of a rabbi in which hundreds of mourners attended and did not practice social distancing. Police used sirens and addressed the crowd to heed to the regulations. There were no fines, no arrests, and no water cannons. But Governor Cuomo has warned that those not abiding by the regulations may be fined.

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Naya Daur