June 1, 2020

Kosher stores, synagogues, vandalized and looted in ongoing LA protests

A protester holds a skateboard in front of a fire in Los Angeles,
 Saturday, May 30, 2020, during a protest over the death of George Floyd.
Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu,AP
Los Angeles - A number of kosher stores and synagogues have been vandalized and looted in the uptown Los Angeles neighborhood of Fairfax, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, by people protesting police brutality following the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week.

Some of the synagogues damaged as a result of vandalism, graffiti and looting by protesters include Congregation Kehilas Yaakov, also known as Rabbi Gershon Bess Shul, and Tiferes Tzvi (Rabbi Ganzweig Shul) on on Beverly Boulevard in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Elder of Ziyon, a pro-Israel activist, recorded clips of some of the damage done to the synagogues in Fairfax.
It was also reported that Congregation Beth Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in Los Angeles and also on Beverley Boulevard, was defaced with antisemitic graffiti that read "F**k Israel" and "Free Palestine" scrawled along its walls. 

Elan S. Carr, Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, condemned the graffiti placed on the Congregation Beth Israel building, saying on Twitter: "I just visited Congregation Beth Israel, the scene of last night’s appalling vandalism. This graffiti is yet more evidence that anti-#Zionism is #Antisemitism. Thank you to the many community volunteers whose kindness in the face of hatred restored the synagogue."

In addition to destruction and graffiti inflicted upon the synagogues, a number of kosher restaurants, bakeries and stores were ransacked by protesters, looting much of the merchandise and causing extensive property damage. Some of the stores impacted include Ariel Glatt Kosher Market, Mensch Bakery and Kitchen and Syd's Pharmacy and Kosher Vitamins, all located in the Fairfax district.

Richard S. Hirschhaut, American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director, condemned the acts of vandalism, saying in a statement to the Jewish Journal that “It is deplorable that certain protesters in Los Angeles today resorted to violence and vandalism. Sadly, their destructive opportunism included the defacing of Congregation Beth Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in Los Angeles and the spiritual home to many Holocaust survivors over the years. The epithets scrawled on the synagogue wall do nothing to advance the cause of peace or justice, here or abroad.”

Similarly, Liora Rez, Director of the Stop Antisemitism watchdog, also condemned their action in a statement to the Jewish Journal, saying that “once again we see vile antisemitism being disguised as activism. To vandalize a synagogue during this horrific time does nothing but further divide a broken country.”

Meanwhile, protests have continued to impact much of Los Angeles and other cities after George Floyd, 46, died after being pinned down on the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer for nearly 9 minutes. Derek Chauvin, the officer caught on video, was on charged with third-degree murder on Friday. 

Nearly 400 protesters were arrested in Los Angeles on Saturday, while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Gacetti announced a curfew for the city, May 30 from 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. on May 31. Curfews were also declared in other cities in California, including San Francisco and Santa Monica. 

Source: Jpost