Vandalism Spree Targets Jewish Businesses and Institutions in Los Angeles

Vandalism Spree Targets Jewish Businesses and Institutions in Los Angeles
Los Angeles police officers take a statement from Rabbi Yosef Mishulovin, owner of Chabad Atara’s Judaica, about grafitti on the sidewalk in front of the store in the Fairfax District in Los Angeles on Wednesday, (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Vandalism Spree Targets Jewish Businesses and Institutions

On the same day that graffiti was discovered outside Canter’s Deli in the Fairfax district this week, at least half a dozen other similar incidents of vandalism were found at Jewish businesses, synagogues, and schools around L.A., authorities said.

Some of the other incidents of vandalism were reported on Wednesday in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, known for its large Jewish community, and included messages related to the Israel-Palestine conflict, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The incident outside Canter’s is being investigated as a possible hate crime, Los Angeles police said.

Graffiti Messages and Their Impact

The graffiti included messages in white paint under the popular Fairfax Community Mural, which faces Canter’s parking lot and features historic figures of Los Angeles’ Jewish community, such as Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax. The graffiti included messages that read, “Israel’s only religion is capitalism,” “How many dead in the name of greed?” and “Free Gaza.”

Jewish and civic leaders denounced the incidents as attacks on their community, which come amid an escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas militants. Since then, more than 1,400 people have died on the Israeli side, with Palestinian militants continuing to hold about 220 people hostage. More than 8,300 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Rising Concerns About Antisemitism

After the attack on Oct. 7, the Anti-Defamation League has said harassment, vandalism, and attacks against Jews have increased around the country.

“Vandalizing and targeting synagogues, Jewish neighborhoods, and a mural about local Jewish history on the wall of the iconic Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Boulevard is heinous,” said Jeffrey Abrams, Los Angeles regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles.

In addition to the Canter incident, the Los Angeles Police Department also confirmed a second act of vandalism in the 300 block of La Brea Avenue, which is also being investigated as a possible hate crime.

In all, five additional incidents were reported Wednesday to the Anti-Defamation League and relayed to the LAPD, according to the Jewish civil rights organization.

Graffiti Spreads to Various Locations

Two utility boxes located in front of a yeshiva, a Jewish academy of Talmudic learning, in the 1200 block of South La Cienega Boulevard were tagged with “Free Gaza,” according to the ADL. A similar message was found two blocks away, near the intersection of Whitworth Drive and South Orlando Boulevard.

A poster at a bus stop was also spray-painted with the message “Free Gaza” near the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Alfred Street. A construction site near Melrose and La Brea avenues was vandalized with “I$rael Killers” in white paint.

And Congregation Bais Yehuda, in the 360 block of North La Brea Avenue, was also spray-painted with “Free Gaza,” according to the ADL.

Public and Civic Reactions

The incidents, reported to the ADL, included images of the graffiti, which were reviewed by The Times.

On the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky called the incidents “disgusting.” Yaroslavsky, whose district includes the locations where the graffiti was found, said her staff responded to a total of seven incidents in her district.

“Jews in L.A. have been sounding the alarm on the rise in anti-semitism for years,” she wrote on X. “It’s disgusting and it has no place in Los Angeles.”

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