Instigator in Borough Park protests Heshy Tischler arrested after assault on journalist

Heshy Tischler was arrested on Sunday for inciting an attack on a reporter

Police arrested radio personality and anti-masker Heshy Tischler outside of his Borough Park home on Sunday for allegedly instigating an attack on an Orthodox journalist.

Citing his role in egging on a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews in an attack of a Hasidic journalist on Oct. 7, cops charged Tischler with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment, according to police.

The 56-year-old vocal coronavirus denier organized two demonstrations in Borough Park on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new COVID-19 regulations. The new rules, which went into effect last week, closed schools and limited religious gatherings to 10 people in New York City coronavirus hotspots.

The protests drew massive crowds to 13th Avenue, where mostly unmasked attendees danced in the street and waved Donald Trump flags. On Oct. 6, attendees attacked a photographer and a Hasidic dissenter who was filming the proceedings — critically injuring the camera-wielding photojournalist. 

The next night, a large crowd egged on by Tischler chased down and attacked well-known local journalist Jacob Kornbluh, a veteran reporter for Jewish Insider, he said.

“I was just brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me ‘Nazi’ and ‘Hitler’ — after Heshy Tischler recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street,” Kornbluh wrote on Twitter.

Kornbluh has written about attempts to flout social distancing and mask-wearing measures in Borough Park. 

The crowd, led by Tischler, also called Kornbluh a “moser” — a derogatory term for a Jewish informant who turns in a Jew to a non-rabbinical authority. 

There were no arrests on the scene of the attack, police said. 

Police step in to protect journalist Jacob Kornbluth from Hasidim bent on causing him injury Wednesday night as thousands of Orthodox Jews at Borough Park protests seeking the ability to pray as they choose despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Kornbluth stands on steps behind them. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Following the two nights of protests, a group of civil rights activists called on local officials to arrest Tischler and charge him with inciting the violence. 

“He should be arrested and held accountable,” Rev. Kevin McCall of the Crisis Action Center said on Oct. 8.

Tischler, who has heckled Health Department officials about mask mandates, announced on Sunday that police told him that officers from the 66th Precinct, along with some of the civil rights leaders, would arrest him on Monday morning. 

An NYPD spokesman said that Tischler was instead arrested by police at his home on Monday night. The representative did not elaborate on why the plans had changed. 

Dozens of demonstrators protested the arrest outside Kornbluh’s house on Sunday night until early Monday morning.

Tischler is being held at Brooklyn Central Booking for his arraignment as of Monday morning and will be arraigned later this afternoon, police and district attorney representatives said. Tischler will likely be released on bail, since he hasn’t been charged with any bailable offenses. 

This story first appeared on our sister publication brooklynpaper.com.