L.A. rioters targeted Jewish synagogues and shops

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By Mark Ellis –

Antisemitic graffiti on the Beth Israel synagogue in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles following violent protests, May 30, 2020. (Photo: Twitter)

One under-reported part of the story about the riots in Los Angeles is the targeting of Jewish synagogues, institutions and shops in the predominantly Jewish area along Fairfax Boulevard.

One synagogue in the Fairfax District, Congregation Beth Israel, was vandalized with graffiti that read “Free Palestine. F— Israel,” on a day manifesting protests, vandalism and looting in the area. Two additional synagogues, along with Kosher stores were also hit.

“Much of the destruction and defacement of these Jewish synagogues and stores is deliberate and targeted acts of anti-Semitism,” according to a statement from the Conference of Jewish Affairs.

A person throws a Molotov cocktail as another loots a business on Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax District during demonstrations May 30, 2020.

At least one African American rights movement has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past. “We have known for years that Black Lives Matter is an abhorrently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish organization. This anti-Semitism has trickled down from Black Lives Matter into large segments of those rioting,” the statement continued.

In August 2016, the Movement for Black Lives (affiliated with Black Lives Matter) used the word “genocide” to describe Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, labeled Israel an “Apartheid state”, condemned Israeli settlement building in the Palestinian territories, and lent their support for the BDS movement against Israel.

In response, former law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote in the Boston Globe, “It is a real tragedy that Black Lives Matter — which has done so much good in raising awareness of police abuses — has now moved away from its central mission and has declared war against the nation state of the Jewish people.”

The Conference of Jewish Affairs implored other Jewish organizations in L.A. and around the country to condemn the most recent violent acts, stating they were “bewildered” by the silence. “It seems that for many Jewish organizations the cause of Black Lives Matter is more important than the safety and dignity of Jewish institutions and individuals.”

“It is a false claim that support for justice for George Floyd requires that injustices being perpetrated now by the rioters are to be overlooked,” Rabbi Aryeh Spero noted in the press release.

“Furthermore, we profoundly disagree with the assertion being promoted by the ADL and virtually all Jewish organizations that America is a country filled with systemic and institutional racism. This statement is false and wrong,” the rabbi declared.

“While there is racism in America,” he continued, “and other parts of the world by individuals, those who mingle and frequent with the American people know that in today’s America racism is not systemic or institutional. No one we know,” added Rabbi Spero, “revels in racism, and virtually every American was revolted by what was done to George Floyd.

“Jewish organizations that make such a broad, indiscriminate charge against fellow Americans, and America itself, as being systemically and institutionally racist are expressing a nefarious form of bigotry against the American people and America. Equally alarming, they are fanning the flames of division at a time when we need unity and are inciting further discontent and rioting by the bitterness of their rhetoric.”