A surge in violence against Jews that has occurred across the country – including nine attacks last week in New York City alone and vandalism of a synagogue in Beverly Hills – has raised fears that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States.
Those fears could be bolstered by two recent acts of vandalism in West Hollywood city’s Boystown nightlife district. On Sunday, The Bayou WeHo, a popular New Orleans-themed restaurant and bar, opened to find graffiti on its door that read “Hitler was RIGHT” and included a five-point star that may have been intended to represent the six-point Star of David. This morning, Jim Hieronymus, an employee of the Block Party store on Santa Monica Boulevard, opened the store to find two somewhat similar five-point stars scrawled on its window. The vandal also painted the letters GD and LK on the window.
Video obtained from Micky’s, the gay nightclub adjacent to the Block Party, shows a young Caucasian man carrying a backpack and a plastic bag walking west on the sidewalk. He is filmed stopping in front of the Block Party and appears to be painting on its window.
In December, Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills was vandalized. A Caucasian man was caught on camera entering the synagogue, one of the most prominent Persian synagogues in the United States. Later, an employee entered and discovered Torahs thrown across the floor along with yarmulkas and prayer shawls. Police arrested Anton Nathaniel Redding, 24, of Millersville, Penn. Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, has reported that three Jewish schools in Los Angeles were tagged with anti-Semitic graffiti days later. The schools were Westwood Charter School, the Bel Air campus of American Jewish University and Milken Community High School on Mulholland Drive.
Rabbi Denise Eger of West Hollywood’s Congregation Kol Ami said the graffiti was disturbing. Rabbi Egger said the formation of the Jewish Community Security Initiative as evidence of the community’s concerns. The CSI was launched in 2012 by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Its web page says it was “created to serve as a single point of contact for critical incident coordination, information and intelligence sharing, safety and security training and resources for all of Jewish Los Angeles.”
Lt. Bill Moulder of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station also said those acts of vandalism in West Hollywood were worrisome in light of the increase in attacks against Jews across the country. Moulder said the station would be investigating the incidents.
Moulder said that vandalism is a crime, and if the graffiti is interpreted to be anti-Semitic, it would be seen as a hate crime. He urged residents to alert the Sheriff’s Station any time they seem similar scurrilous graffiti. That can be reported by dialing 911 or calling the West Hollywood Station directly at (310) 855-8850.