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Police Claim Vandalism of Kosher Restaurants Is Not Antisemitic, Gaslighting Community

When a mezuzah is horrifically ripped out of its place on the side of the doorframe, it’s pretty hard to say that it wasn’t an antisemitic attack.

Unfortunately though, that’s what’s going on in Los Angeles right now. At 5:27 a.m. on Shabbos morning, the police received a report of three men riding in a Mercedes C-Class sedan who had burglarized and vandalized five kosher restaurants. 

The restaurants include Nagila Pizza, Schnitzly, Shanghai Diamond Garden, SushiKo, Shalom Grill, and the newly opened Fisherman’s Bowl.

Benjy Spiro, West Coast Director of Chesed Shel Emes and local resident told Hamodia that the community has been concerned for a long time. “In the last week or so we’ve had numerous mobs attack local shopping malls, and they steal tons of luxury items…we don’t see a strong police presence on Shabbos…We’re scared to walk down the street because there are homeless people who are mentally unwell…our shul, our restaurants have been attacked before.”

“It’s not normal, it’s not sustainable.”

Unfortunately, the LAPD doesn’t seem to believe the crimes were antisemitic in nature since there were no swastikas drawn or other graffiti markings. The police captain Lonnie Tiano also said that there was one Jewish-owned spared, so it couldn’t have been antisemitic. 

Spiro comments that it’s sad every single Jewish business needs to be attacked in order to determine an attack like this as antisemitic. When five out of six restaurants are vandalized on a street, it seems like the odds are still in favor of a targeted attack.

Right now, the suspects are still at large so until they’re found, there may not be a resolution on the matter.

Sadly, it seems to be a recurring theme in La-La Land. Hollywood has repeatedly put Jewish characters on screen that are the villain, or negatively looked at. Jews apologize for who they are, are erased or demonized on screen. 

Now, Jews in real life are experiencing that. They’re being demonized and no one is taking them seriously. It’s not just the initial crime of the attacks, but a crime of not being believed, not being validated, not being treated as another minority might be.

We need to do better.

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3 comments

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  • Avatar photo Rebecca Klempner says on August 24, 2023

    IDK. I saw press releases and local media reports saying things like, “We do not yet have evidence of antisemitic motive. This is an ongoing investigation.”

    1) That doesn’t mean that they won’t find one or that they aren’t continuing to investigate.
    2) Several Jewish people pointed out to me that it might be a matter of opportunity, not precisely antisemitism. If you see that a bunch of businesses are unattended and won’t be checked up on for 26 hours every week, a thief might take advantage of that the same way thieves take advantage of the notes they make from casing other homes and businesses (“This family is always out between these hours,” “That business is closed Tuesdays,” etc.).

    I think that calling the LAPD antisemitic at this stage–when the cops have helps us numerous times here in L.A.–is not helpful. They give us extra protection around Shabbat and holidays. They’ve been supportive overall. I do not think that we place our own biases based on location on them and make connections to Hollywood.

    This is not an article at I as an Angeleno appreciate.

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on August 24, 2023

      Thanks for your comment, Rebecca. We spoke to some locals who felt very frustrated with the reasons given. “No swastika” and “didn’t attack every single restaurant.” I appreciate what the LAPD does for the community but I think doubting the antisemitic angle for these reasons feels dismissive. They could have said “it appears to be targeted but we’ll need to confirm if there is evidence of past antisemitic activities from the perps.” That wouldn’t be the final psak but would seem like they are noticing that Judaica was also attacked. Our bringing Hollywood into it is that this is happening in the backyard of the entertainment industry yet Jews are still being mostly treated like we’re too privileged to be seen as a minority group.

      Reply
      • Avatar photo Steve M. says on September 6, 2023

        When a mezuzah is ripped off a door post, that’s anti-Semitism, not a plain burglary.
        Though one can’t say the LAPD is anti-Semitic. There hesitancy to call it anti-Semetic
        shows a strong lack of sympathy on jewish matters.

        Reply

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