Pro-Palestinian demonstrators assault Jews in Los Angeles

Local authorities open hate crime investigation into attack at sushi restaurant, during which the assailants allegedly used antisemitic language to determine who was Jewish

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators assault Jews at a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles on May 19, 2021. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators assault Jews at a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles on May 19, 2021. (Screen capture: Twitter)

JTA — Groups of pro-Palestinian protesters attacked Jews in two separate incidents in Los Angeles this week.

Authorities are investigating one of the incidents as a possible hate crime.

In an altercation Tuesday night recorded on video, a group of men waving Palestinian flags attacked diners at a sushi restaurant in the neighborhood of Beverly Grove, throwing punches, bottles and other objects. The diners included a group of Jewish men.

Another man at the scene, who was not Jewish, told the local CBS affiliate that he and his group also were attacked and that he was pepper-sprayed when he tried to defend the group. He added that the attackers used antisemitic language to determine who at the restaurant was Jewish.

In an incident Monday night recorded by a security camera, an Orthodox Jewish man was chased by a caravan of Palestinian supporters. He escaped unharmed.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, in tweets posted Wednesday afternoon, said the city’s police department is “investigating this assault as a hate crime, and we will respond with the full force of the law.”

“LA is a city of belonging, not of hate,” he wrote. “There is simply no place for anti-Semitism, discrimination, or prejudice of any kind in Los Angeles. And we will never tolerate bigotry and violence in our communities.”

Police Officer Jader Chaves confirmed that an incident was reported at the location.

“It looks like we are investigating that as a possible ADW, assault with a deadly weapon, hate crime,” Chaves told The Associated Press.

The Los Angeles chapter of the Anti-Defamation League wrote on Twitter that it was “outraged” over reports of the attack.

“Criticism of Israeli policy is not always antisemitic. Violent attacks while yelling antisemitic slurs is a hate crime,” the organization wrote.

The Israeli-American Council, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit representing Israeli-American interests in the US, issued a statement calling the attack a “hate crime” and saying it was “deeply concerned” by the report.

Sinai Temple, the city’s largest Conservative congregation, sent an email to its members Wednesday acknowledging the attack and calling on law enforcement “to seek out the perpetrators, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and make clear that such crimes of hate will not be tolerated in our city or in our country.”

“We at Sinai who stand with Israel will not succumb to intimidation,” the temple’s rabbis and cantor wrote in the letter.

AP contributed to this report.

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