Man Who Threatened “Zionist” Subway Passengers, Arrested & Arraigned

The 24-year-old, who appears to have been employed by Weill Cornell Medicine’s Rhee Lab on the Upper East Side, pled not guilty. His case is scheduled for trial on August 12.

| 03 Jul 2024 | 02:49

Anas Saleh, the would-be subway vigilante of the June 10 antisemitic protests that began at Union Square and ended outside the Nova Music Festival Exhibition on Wall Street, isn’t smirking anymore.

In fact, 24-year-old Staten Islander who was captured on video grinning after he sought to identify—and implicitly threaten— “Zionists” on a crowded 5 train subway car, seems to be doing little lately save hiding from the attention he once courted so avidly on social media and as a fiery protest speaker.

After a two-week-long manhunt, Saleh— a known associate of the extremist pro-Palestinian group, Within Our Lifetime, and whose day job appears to have been that of research technician at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Rhee Lab on E. 69th Street—turned himself into police on Wednesday June 26 at Transit District 2 at the Canal Street Subway Station, West Broadway and Lispenard Street.

At that time, Salah was issued a desk appearance ticket for third degree coercion—forcing a person to do something against their will under threat—and ordered to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on on Monday July 1.

In both of these public appearances, Saleh, who had shouted his anti-”Zionist” threats unmasked, now sought to hide himself with both a COVID-era masks and a phalanx of kiffeyeh carrying comrades who curtained him from photographers.

At his July 1 arraignment, Selah, accompanied by his lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, was charged with third-degree coercion.

Meltzer-Cohen’s request to get the case thrown out was firmly rejected by Judge Michelle Weber. “My court, my rules,” said Weber, who later dismissed Meltzer-Cohen’s assertion that, because the attorney herself was “a Jew,” there was no case against Selah.

Assistant District Attorney Madeline Holbrook of the Manhattan D.A.’s office provided evidence to the contrary. After Saleh lead the subway shout “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist. This is your chance to get out,” Holbrook explained, a woman passenger did in fact exit the train, because “she was afraid... she would be physically harmed.”

Selah plead not guilty and, because it wasn’t a bail eligible offense, he was released without bail.

As Selah was exiting the courthouse, his erstwhile security detail—masks, kiffeyehs, umbrellas and all—scuffled with photographers before fleeing to parts unknown.


On Instagram, using the handle astro_4Nas, the person believed to Selah called himself “Anas Yaroodi.” As an apparent member of a group called Healthcare Workers for Palestine, “Yaroodi” was a vociferous critic of Israel and the NYPD.

But what social media gives, social media can take away and it’s with no small irony that on the afternoon June 19, the X account of NYPD Transit posted a June 10 photo of Selah and asked the public for their assistance identifying him.

By that same evening, Salah had been identified by the Instagram account, Jew Hate Database (@JewHateDB).

Before anyone could cautiously note that internet sleuths have been wrong before, it was apparent JewHateDB had found their suspect—though it would be another week before Saleh surrendered to police.

“Threatening New Yorkers based on their beliefs “is not only vile, it’s illegal and will not be tolerated,” said Mayor Adams after Selah’s arrest. “Let this be a lesson to all those who think they can commit crimes and hide: The NYPD will find you and charge you. You won’t get away with it.”

The American Jewish Medical Association, representing Jewish health care professionals throughout the country, issued a public letter calling for Selah’s prosecution.

Weill Cornell medicine, while not addressing Selah specifically, issued a statement, “We condemn antisemitism in the strongest possible terms. We are fully cooperating with the NYPD and conducting our own internal review. Employment matters are confidentially managed.”

Before Selah was deleted from the Weill Cornell Rhee Lab homepage sometime after June 10, he was identified as “Research Technician, B.S. Chemistry, ACS Certification, St John’s University (2021).”

In his likewise deleted Rhee Lab biography, Selah is said to have been “raised in New York City” (he has proclaimed elsewhere that he grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn) and that “Beyond the lab, Anas enjoys spending time with his friends, traveling (pre-COVID) and enjoying a good show.”

On June 5, in an event that received little attention at the time, Within Our Lifetime staged a loud, strident protest outside Cornell Weill Medical College at 1300 York Avenue at East 69th Street in Yorkville.

They called it the “Flood Cornell for Rafah HCW4P Rally”—the acronym standing for Health Care Workers For Palestine, the activist group Anas Selah appears to have been a leader of.

This wasn’t the first time either group targeted a medical institution. On January 15, protestors assailed the Memorial Sloan Ketting Cancer Center for its alleged “complicity in genocide” and Mount Sinai Medical Center for “supporting Zionism.”

A 25 second video of the Cornell Weill Medical College protest posted to the X account @WOLPaelstine later that day was preceded by the words “Israel will fall!”

In the video, the protestors, many wearing kiffeyehs and masks, are shown chanting these same words at the behest of a woman leader, herself kiffeyeh-clad and vigorously waving her arms as if trying to achieve flight while an air horn honks along: “Israel Will Fall! Israel Will Fall! Israel Will Fall!”

At press time, Israel still stands, and Anas Selah—New York State Unified Court System Case # CR-017627024NY— is slated for trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on August 12 at 9 AM.