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Editorial: Antisemitism has to be called out wherever and whenever it shows up

Cars driving by an overpass where people have hung antisemitic banners
Antisemitic banners are hung over the 405 Freeway.
(Sam Yebri)
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Antisemitic fliers began appearing on Westside doorsteps in the dark of night last year. Then again in April and August. Similar ones showed up in Pasadena earlier this month at the start of Yom Kippur. More hate-filled pamphlets appeared last weekend on the Westside and in Beverly Hills.

Cori Solomon, the president of the Brentwood Glen Assn., got the first of several emails from neighbors at 7:06 a.m. Sunday about a flier proclaiming “Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish.” A Ring video showed a car driving by after 1 a.m. with someone tossing fliers in plastic bags onto doorsteps.

Over the past few months Solomon has collected a folder full of fliers with varying takes on the same hateful antisemitic theme — to show police and other community leaders. It’s frightening and intimidating. She and her husband have a mezuzah, the encased parchment scroll of Torah verses affixed to the doorway of a Jewish home. She wondered: Should she take it down? She kept it up.

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Fears that antisemitic remarks by Kanye West would spur additional bigotry came to fruition in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Oct. 23, 2022

But that isn’t all of it. For the past few weeks, the rapper Ye — once known as Kanye West — has been going on antisemitic rants online and on Fox News on Tucker Carlson’s show. West threatened to “go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” on Twitter, according to the Associated Press.

It’s not surprising that such hatred from a celebrity has inspired others. On Saturday, on a bridge over the 405 Freeway near a historically Black community, about half a dozen people unfurled huge banners, one of which said “Kanye is right about the Jews,” and gave a Nazi salute — an appalling spectacle once unimaginable in Los Angeles.

Though these hateful acts weren’t physically violent, they must be roundly and immediately denounced so they never become normalized.

They have already been called out in the entertainment industry where the talent agency CAA has cut its ties to Ye. A company that had been planning to distribute a documentary on Ye has decided not to proceed. He has been frozen out of Twitter and Instagram.

It doesn’t take a flash of violence in the Middle East for people to give free rein to their antisemitism, which courses through world cultures like a virus we can’t vanquish.

May 25, 2021

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A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said the fliers were being aggressively investigated by the Major Crimes Division.

Jeffrey Abrams, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles, is urging people to tell Adidas to stop its dealings with Ye. Law enforcement is limited in what it can do, says Abrams. It’s imperative, he says, that people “sound a clarion call that antisemitism, this type of racism, is impermissible and unforgivable.”

Yes, even in this liberal city. Antisemitic markings on buildings and houses and schools have cropped up over the years before the current wave of fliers and banners. These were despicable acts, and we should always be outraged by them no matter where or how often they happen.

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