LOS ANGELES, California (J. the Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — “Honk if you know the Jews want a race war.”
That was the message scrawled on two signs hanging on a Los Angeles overpass, on Saturday, in view of hundreds of passing cars on I-405.
The incident alarmed the Los Angeles Jewish community and spurred media coverage.
Now it appears that Jon Minadeo Jr. of Petaluma, a city in Northern California about 40 miles from San Francisco, and a handful of others who make up what is known as the Goyim Defense League were behind the hateful display. Last year, Minadeo was linked to anti-Semitic flyers posted in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We're aware of the #antisemitic banner drops from over the weekend on the 405 Fwy. We've been working closely with law enforcement to identify the perpetrators. We want to thank community members for contacting us & continue to encourage reporting. Los Angeles is #NoPlaceforHate. pic.twitter.com/V6qiEbcsD7
— ADL Los Angeles (@LA_ADL) August 23, 2020
In a roughly two-minute cellphone video shared with J. by the group StopAntiSemitism.org, Minadeo and the others can be seen standing behind the banners on top of the overpass cheering as cars and trucks stream through.
“I just wave at them and smile, even when they’re flipping you off,” one man said.
“Think about the thousands of people …” another said wistfully before trailing off.
The signs included an advertisement for the group’s video-sharing site Goyim TV, which generates revenue via paid monthly subscriptions.
Known as a “banner drop,” the act was just one of many that Minadeo and his crew undertook while driving around Los Angeles in a white van over the weekend, recording their activities during what they called a “Name the Nose Tour.”
The group published much of it on Goyim TV, a YouTube “clone” site, on which Minadeo — under the moniker Handsome Truth — has hundreds of followers and thousands of video views.
Handsome Truth was first identified as a 37-year-old Bay Area man last August, using Sonoma County business records, after flyers accusing Jews of being behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks appeared in Novato and Santa Rosa. The idea that Jews celebrated 9/11 is a running theme throughout Minadeo’s videos.
During the Los Angeles tour, the group stood in front of a Chabad center in Marina Del Rey and shouted through a megaphone, “These Jewish terrorists are the people behind 9/11.”
Also, while driving, group members harassed people on the street, shouting “Wake up and understand that Jews have hijacked your country!” To those wearing protective masks, They yelled, “Take that yarmulke off your face!” (Minadeo believes masks are a government conspiracy and are harmful to health.)
Shirtless and wearing turquoise shorts in many of the weekend videos, Minadeo is also clearly identifiable by a tattoo of a faded black cross on his left shoulder — the same one visible in a 2011 movie trailer for a low-budget romantic comedy called “Curveball” in which he starred.
The Los Angeles office of the Anti-Defamation League said it received “numerous constituent complaints” about the incident, and reported them to law enforcement.
The Goyim Defense League “has been on ADL’s radar since its inception,” wrote Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, in an email Monday to J.
“The core issue here may rest in the perpetrators’ exercising their first amendment rights,” Mendelson wrote. “However, it is incumbent on us to speak out against such vile anti-Semitism and related conspiracies.”
The national Anti-Defamation League wrote in a statement on Twitter, sharing an image of the banners, “antisemitism continues to plague our communities and it’s important to understand just how severe this issue is.”
The New York-based StopAntiSemitism.org tweeted, “We need strict hate laws in America, the current ones aren’t working!”
Court records in Sonoma County show Minadeo faced a misdemeanor charge for threatening a public employee in 2001 when he was a teenager. The charge was later dismissed.