Golden State Tarnished by Hate

Anti-Semitic attacks were up 21 percent in California last year, according to a newly released report by the Anti-Defamation League.

While nationwide there was a seven percent decline, to 1,352 incidents, in the Golden State the number of reported anti-Jewish acts rose from 186 to 226.

"Much of the rise was due to a significant increase in anti-Jewish vandalism throughout the region, but 2008 incidents also include physical assaults against Jews and Molotov cocktail attacks on the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus and a private home in West Hills," said ADL Regional Director Amanda Susskind.  "There were also disturbing incidents of vandalism at private homes and Jewish institutions during 2008 and this trend continues in 2009."

Los Angeles lead the way in anti-Semitic crimes.

"Statistics consistently show Jews to be far and away the most frequently targeted religious group, with 74 percent of hate crimes motivated by religion being perpetrated against Jews in Los Angeles County," said Susskind, citing the most recent Hate Crime Report of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

According to the ADL's report, some major incidents included:

• "F*** Jews" and "Burn Jews" and swastikas were spray-painted on walls in the Tarzana/Encino area of the San Fernando Valley.   (January)

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• A group of observant Jews was attacked with eggs and paint balls in West Los Angeles. (February)

• Incendiary devices launched at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus and a private home in West Hills. (February)

• A Jewish man was attacked and robbed in Los Angeles by three assailants who made anti-Semitic comments including, "You Jew, you're going to die." (March)

• Swastikas and neo-Nazi phrases were spray-painted on the gate of a Jewish school in Los Angeles. (March)

• During an argument, suspect stated to victim in West Los Angeles: "You f***ing Jew.  The Holocaust never happened" and then struck her and pulled her hair. (March)

• Two males brutally attacked an Orthodox man walking in North Hollywood, hitting and punching him while calling him "dirty Jew" and "f***ing Jew." (April)

• "Deth to Israel" (sic) was scratched into the door of a Jewish home in the San Fernando Valley; three months prior the mezuzah had been taken from the doorpost. (May)

• Swastika painted on the door of a Jewish middle school teacher's classroom in Los Angeles, following students reading "The Diary of Anne Frank." (May)

• Swastika spray-painted on synagogue in San Gabriel Valley. (June)

• Jewish man was tripped and taunted and kippah (religious head covering) was grabbed from his head in San Fernando Valley. (July)

• Jewish student punched in stomach at San Fernando Valley school while perpetrator made anti-Semitic comments including "I hate Jews." (September)

• Family outside kosher restaurant in Los Angeles was harassed by a stranger yelling anti-Semitic epithets, saluting Hitler and stating "I think it's funny your family was thrown into the f***ing ovens." (November)

• Swastika drawn on Jewish students' lockers at a Santa Clarita Valley high school and a Tarzana middle school. (November)

• A swastika drawn on paper was stuck inside a Star of David on a synagogue sign in Ontario. (December) 
 

At Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills, Rabbi Janet Offel told the Los Angeles Daily News that teachers and parents need to teach young people about tolerance and compassion.

"They can take kids to places like the Museum of Tolerance, which is not just for the Jewish community, but really tries to teach respect and tolerance for all people," Offel told the paper.

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