A suspect has been arrested in the beating of several Jewish men outside a Los Angeles restaurant last week believed to be linked to Israel's latest operation in Gaza.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the unnamed man was “one of the primary suspects in the assault and beating,” which it had previously said was being investigated as a possible hate crime.
“Man Arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon Hate Crime,” the LAPD tweeted on Saturday.
In an altercation Tuesday night recorded on video, a group of men waving Palestinian flags attacked diners at a sushi restaurant in the Beverly Grove neighborhood, throwing punches, bottles and other objects. The diners included a group of Jewish men.
A non-Jewish man at the scene told the local CBS affiliate that he and his group also were attacked and that he was pepper-sprayed when he tried to defend the others in his group. He added that the attackers used antisemitic language to determine who at the restaurant was Jewish.
The attack was condemned on Wednesday by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who tweeted that “Jewish Angelenos, like all residents, should always feel safe in our city.”
“There is simply no place for anti-Semitism, discrimination, or prejudice of any kind in Los Angeles. And we will never tolerate bigotry and violence in our communities,” he said.
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The Anti-Defamation League, which had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the attackers, welcomed the arrest. In a statement, ADL Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams said that the “numerous tips supporting the investigation demonstrate that Angelenos will not be silent in the face of hate” and that he was “grateful that LAPD has requested that the suspect’s bail be enhanced due to the crime being motivated by hatred.”
In a separate incident last Monday night, which was recorded by a security camera, an Orthodox Jewish man was chased by a caravan of Palestine supporters. He escaped unharmed.
Last Thursday, the ADL released preliminary data from its Center on Extremism revealing what it said was “an increase in online and real-world incidents of antisemitism in the United States since the most recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas.”
The group said that it had tracked over 17,000 tweets using variations of the phrase “Hitler was right” between May 7 and May 14 and had “received more reports of possible antisemitic incidents since the conflict broke out in Israel, with 193 reports in the week after the crisis began, up from 131 the previous week.”
On Saturday, three men drove down a street Brooklyn’s heavily Orthodox Borough Park neighborhood, screaming antisemitic obscenities. After getting out of their car and running after several Jewish men, the suspects attempted to enter a synagogue, banging repeatedly on the locked doors, the New York Post reported.
“People are literally afraid to walk the streets,” the paper quoted State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, a member of the Orthodox community, as saying.
Other incidents include the throwing of fireworks at people in a heavily Jewish New York City business district by anti-Zionist protesters last Thursday and the beating of a Jewish motorist in a Jewish neighborhood of London on Friday.
Last Wednesday, the Community Security Trust, a Jewish watchdog organization, reported that it had recorded 116 antisemitic incidents since May 8.
“This is a fivefold increase in antisemitic incidents [over the previous 11-day period], and it is almost certainly an undercount,” the group said, adding that many incidents will be reported late or “will never be reported at all.”
Following the beginning of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the Central Council of Jews in Germany called on Berlin to step up protection of Jewish institutions throughout the country after Israeli flags were burned in front of two synagogues.