Los Angeles police investigating brawl as antisemitic hate crime

After Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a hate crime investigation of an attack against Jewish diners, another video surfaced of a separate incident involving an Orthodox Jewish man being chased by two cars with people waving a Palestinian flag.

Video footage of a fight outside of a sushi restaurant in the Beverly Grove area of Los Angeles on May 18, 2021. Video screengrab

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city’s police are investigating an attack on diners outside a Westside restaurant as an antisemitic hate crime.

News reports have identified the diners as being Jewish. 

The incident, which involved punching and kicking, occurred late Tuesday (May 18) outside a sushi restaurant in the Beverly Grove area as violence in Israel and Gaza intensified.

Video, capturing a confrontation and the brawl, shows a car caravan of people waving Palestinian flags, with one person shouting, “Israel kills children and women every day. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.” 

Garcetti, in tweets posted Wednesday, said the Los Angeles Police Department is “investigating this assault as a hate crime, and we will respond with the full force of the law.”

“L.A. 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.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that a witness, who asked to remain anonymous, told the newspaper that people from the caravan threw bottles and other items at diners.

“They were chanting, ‘Death to Jews’ and ‘Free Palestine,’” the witness told the Times.

The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday announced a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the attack.

“We don’t know what the motivation is of the people who perpetrated this hate crime, but we’re certainly aware what happens in Israel — what happens in the Middle East — does impact us here on the ground,” Jeffrey Abrams, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles, told the LA Times.

Meanwhile, another video surfaced Wednesday night showing an Orthodox Jewish man being chased by two cars with people waving a Palestinian flag in LA’s Fairfax District, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News.

This incident occurred Tuesday night as the man, who did not want to be identified, was walking to his synagogue on La Brea, ABC7 reported.

The news outlet interviewed the man, who said those in the vehicles screamed “Allahu Akbar” at him. Los Angeles police are also investigating this incident, according to ABC7.

“This was the scare of my life,” the man said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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