By Meghan Imperio
As a result of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, there has been a dramatic increase in antisemitic hate crimes, which has put pressure on law enforcement, lawmakers, and the government to take action and speak out against the growing antisemitism.
Many of the protests and demonstrations as a result of the growing violence between Israel and Hamas have become a target for these antisemitic attacks; however, they have escalated beyond harassment or violent attacks during protests to hate crimes committed at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and, in Los Angeles, in restaurants.
An article by the Washington Post described, “Since May 10, at least 26 instances of antisemitism have been reported across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York.
“The cases range from protest signs calling Zionists ‘Nazis’ to several physical attacks. There have also been at least four reported instances of vandalism at synagogues and Jewish community centers,” the article continues.
The article goes on to describe that, while the conflict in the Middle East has sparked violence in the US before, the recent attacks reveal a trend that this conflict has been accelerated by the recent escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Research shows that in 2019 there were over 2,100 reported and identified antisemitic incidents including violence, harassment, and assault. This was the most reported targeted hate crimes against Jewish people ever recorded, with 2020 having the third-highest number of hate crimes on record, despite everyone staying home due to the pandemic.
The article states, “The most recent attacks, some of which were captured on video, were reminiscent of anti-Jewish protests and rallies in Charlottesville in 2017, and recalled grim memories of the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh the next year.”
However, the article continues to lay out that some officials have pointed out, “Jewish people have not received the same level of support as other religious, racial and ethnic groups that have been victimized.
“U.S. officials have tried to separate the focus on attacks on innocent Americans simply because they are Jews from the debate over U.S. support for Israel and efforts to help broker an end to hostilities with Gaza.”
One instance of hate crimes took place in Los Angeles on Tuesday when a group of people shouted anti-Israel comments at Jewish diners outside of a sushi restaurant. Of the group of people who harassed the diners, one man was arrested with charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
The Los Angeles Police Department described that this event will be investigated by the LAPD as a hate crime. An article by the LA Times describes that “Mr. Garcetti said he was confident about the city’s investigation into the attack, and hoped to announce progress within the next several days.”
Additionally, the article describes, “Police in Los Angeles are also investigating an encounter on Monday in which at least two vehicles chased down an Orthodox Jewish man on the street as they shouted anti-Jewish slurs. He escaped without physical harm.”
It continues to state, “Anti-Semitic violence in the United States tends to spike in response to conflicts in the Middle East and other international events, and around contentious elections domestically.”
Instances like this are an example of many other hate crimes that have been occurring across the globe due to recent airstrikes on Israel and Gaza, especially across the US in cities such as New York. The sudden increase in violence across the country as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict has put pressure on officials to address Americans’ response to the conflict and the prejudice that has emerged and escalated as a result.
Meghan Imperio is a writer for the LA Vanguard’s social justice desk. She is an English major at UCLA, originally from Glendale, CA.
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