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Rideshare driver charged with launching antisemitic attack on rider

The driver allegedly said he would not transport a Jewish or Israeli person in his vehicle before striking the person in the face.
A driver and a backseat passenger are shown.
Posted at 6:16 PM, Mar 14, 2024

A former rideshare driver in the San Francisco Bay Area has been arrested for allegedly attacking one of his riders because he believed the individual to be Jewish or Israeli, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

An indictment filed against Csaba John Csukás earlier this week states the 39-year-old was working for an app-based rideshare company on Oct. 26, 2023, when he was hired to drive the alleged victim — listed as S.B. in the filing — from the San Francisco International Airport to the person's home in San Jose, California. 

Prosecutors allege that when Csukás approached S.B. at the predetermined pickup spot, the driver asked if the rider "was Jewish or Israeli, stated that he would not transport a Jewish or Israeli person in his vehicle and attacked S.B. by striking him in the face with his right fist, causing bodily injury."

Csukás now faces a federal hate crime charge due to "causing bodily injury because of the actual or perceived religion or national origin of a person in circumstances affecting interstate commerce," the Justice Department said. 

The Daly City resident pleaded not guilty to the crime in his initial court appearance Wednesday and was released on bond. If later convicted of the charge, he'll face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

In the last two months, antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents surged
A woman holds a sign at a protest in support of Israel

In the last two months, antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents surged

Rights groups have tracked significant increases in both antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate incidents across the U.S. since Hamas invaded Israel.


"When taking public transportation — whether a taxi, bus or rideshare — customers should be able to ride without being profiled, or worse yet attacked, because of their nationality or religion by drivers," said U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California. "We will prosecute any ride-share driver who assaults a passenger in such hate-fueled violence."

The alleged incident occurred 19 days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. In the weeks that followed, the Anti-Defamation League reported antisemitic incidents across the U.S. spiked 388% compared to the same time the previous year. 

"No one in this country should live in fear because of how they worship or where they come from," Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement Wednesday. "The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled violence motivated by antisemitism or by bias of any kind."