Scared to be Jewish in Los Angeles?

As soon as the narrative started to shift on Israel’s massacre in Gaza and the apartheid reality of daily Israeli life, a curious thing happened: anti-Jewish violence suddenly, overnight, became a huge thing in America.

Politicians across America are denouncing this “threat” to us Jews, and all sorts of Jewish Zionist influencers are flooding their Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter feeds with horror stories about how terrified they are. Now that the Palestinians are in control of the narrative, there’s no telling what kind of violence will happen! “We Jews are under attack! We’re cowering in fear, seeking refuge with sympathetic goy friends to escape the murderous antisemitic mobs!”

The whole thing is of course bullshit.

The “evidence” behind this supposed danger to Jews are a few scuffles that broke out between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters over the last several weeks. What’s most notable about them is how rarely these scuffles happened. Palestinian solidarity rallies have taken place all over America, and they have been bigger than ever, with all sorts of people taking part. One or two fights happening on the margins of big emotional national events like these is pretty much statistically insignificant. What it shows is how totally peaceful they’ve been.

What else is notable about these fights is that when they did happen they were quite obviously rooted in political and ideological disputes, and not racism against “the Jews.” It’s not uncommon for people on different sides of a volatile and highly emotional political issues to come blows, which makes it even more impressive and significant that on the whole there was no real violence.

Not surprisingly, some of the incidents that have been labeled as “racially motivated attacks against Jews” were actually triggered by the Jewish — or, more accurately, the pro-Israel — side.

That’s what seems to have happened in Montreal, where members of the JDL — an extremist outfit started by the now-assassinated FBI informant and Israeli politician Meir Kahane — attacked Palestinian solidarity activists and had knives and clubs. And as Max Blumenthal pointed out this week, two former IDF soldiers from the special forces Golani Brigade taunted and fought pro-Palestine protesters in New York and clearly reveled in the violence, and yet turned around and claimed they were victims of vicious anti-Jewish hatred — which is how the media framed their story.

Something similar happened here in Los Angeles.

A fight between pro-Palestine protesters and some pro-Israel bros out on the town eating dinner at a sushi restaurant was turned into a story about violent antisemitic mobs on the prowl, joyriding and beating up Jews in Los Angeles. LA’s shitty neoliberal mayor, Eric Garcetti, even claimed it was an “organized” attack. Organized by whom? Palestinian solidarity protesters? The Elders of Palestinian Zion? He doesn’t answer.

Prone to paranoia, I initially thought that this had to be an op — that it had to be a set up. The guys in the video were just too huge. They had their faces covered and were dressed in black like they were there for a pump and run operation meant to boost some antisemitic havoc to shift the narrative on Palestine. Well, nah, I don’t think so anymore. It all seems much more mundane.

I dug into the story a little bit, got (useless) comment from the cops, and watched all the available videos — and it’s pretty clear that this was a fight triggered by politics. But what happened was that it got framed in the most inflammatory and deceptive way — as if this “attack” was part of a coordinated Palestinian campaign to terrorize the Jewish community in Los Angeles.

There’s one video that gives what appears to be the fullest picture of what happened.

It was filmed by what I’ll call the pro-Israel side — from a table on the sidewalk in front of a sushi restaurant, where the action took place.

The video starts by showing a caravan of cars with Palestinian flags stuck in traffic on La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles. People in the cars are honking and chanting slogans like “Free Palestine.” There’s a black Jeep Rubicon in the caravan. It has a Palestinian flag and a couple of big guys dressed in black are standing up inside it.

One of the guys in the Jeep has a megaphone. He says: “Israel murders women and children everyday!”

To which the guy who is shooting the video (or maybe it’s one of his friends who is out of the frame) very aggressively replies: “YEAH, FUCK YOU!!”

The guy in the Jeep says: “You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.”

At which point the Jeep drives past the restaurant and exits the frame. Another car behind it — a white SUV — has a few young guys hanging out the windows. As it drives by, one of the guys flips off the people on the sidewalk. Clearly the people on the sidewalk were trading insults with the caravan.

There’s a sound of something small crashing — like someone thew something?

The next thing you see is that the guy who is shooting the video puts his phone down and grabs a bottle and some silverware or maybe a cup or something and lurches aggressively forward. Does he throw the stuff at the caravan? It’s not clear.

The video continues, but all you see is the dark sky and a streetlight because the camera is facing up.

You can hear a scuffle building up and people trying to prevent it from happening. Someone on a megaphone from the pro-Palestine side is telling people to stop it: “It’s not worth it, guys. It’s not worth it. Hey! Hey! Hey! Stop! Stop! Stop!”

When the picture cuts back in, the fight is already happening. A few of the huge guys from the Jeep are on foot on the sidewalk, arguing and scuffling with some pro-Israel males from the restaurant. It’s chaotic, and people are pushing and swinging. Some guy — I think from the pro-Israel side — falls to the ground, gets kicked. One of the guys from the pro-Israel side, who is jacked and amped to fight, grabs a big metal pole and swings it at one of the guys from the Jeep, just as the Jeep guy was walking away. After that, the fellas from the Jeep pin the pro-Israel guy against a car and beat him up a bit.

The video evidence is limited. But even what we have available shows pretty clearly that it didn’t have much to do with an “organized antisemitic” attack. It looked like a political fight. Insults and people throwing things led to a small brawl. If I had to put money on it, I’d bet that the pro-Israel bros just couldn’t let the Palestinian caravan pass without aggressively shouting insults back at it, and that’s what triggered the whole thing. And the guy who got roughed up the most? He’s not even Jewish — he’s a Lebanese Armenian.

If you have any info about what went down, let me know.

—Yasha Levine

PS: The LAPD is slowly arresting people suspected in the attack — two of them have already been booked. It’ll be interesting to see what’ll come out of the cases against them.

PPS: Initial stories, citing witnesses who didn’t want to be named, claimed the pro-Palestinian side was using antisemitic slurs. Maybe it happened, but I didn’t see it any of the videos.