Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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California Jewish Neighborhood Bombarded with Antisemitic Leaflets During Passover

Jewish residents of Mar Vista are voicing significant unease this week after discovering numerous flyers with messages such as “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,” and “Stop Arming Israel” around their neighborhood, coinciding with the start of Passover.

Two mothers, who requested anonymity due to fears of retaliation, reported finding up to 30 flyers not just in public areas but also directly in front of their homes. Surveillance footage captured two individuals, including one woman wearing a head covering, distributing these flyers around 2 a.m. Monday. One mother mentioned seeing a flyer from her kitchen window.

This surge in flyers has stirred concerns among longtime residents about escalating tensions and hostility. “We grew up in LA, and never felt this extreme,” one of the mothers said. The Los Angeles Police Department’s response has been limited, as the actions have not yet been classified as a hate crime.

City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto is currently reviewing a motion, passed last December by the Los Angeles City Council, to determine if the mass distribution of hate-filled flyers could be considered a misdemeanor. The legal inquiry aims to address the rising number of antisemitic incidents targeting Jewish communities in L.A. County and beyond.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who introduced the motion, stressed the need to distinguish between free speech and targeted intimidation. “If you have a rope and you drop it on the ground, that may be littering. But if you tie that rope into a noose and place it on the doorstep of an African-American family, you’re sending a message of intimidation,” he explained. “People can say whatever hateful things they want in the town square or online. However, when that hate crosses into someone else’s sanctuary, onto their front step, that’s a different matter.”

The proximity of an elementary school exacerbates the issue in Mar Vista, disrupting family routines. “My older son is starting to read, and he’s getting curious,” a mother noted, concerned about the impact of the messages. Another mother highlighted the growing fear within the community, especially after a recent burglary during Shabbat. “It’s becoming scary to be a homeowner and to be Jewish,” she said.

The mothers also expressed reluctance to remove the flyers, fearing potential retaliation. Both mothers said the atmosphere of fear challenges the community’s ability to openly celebrate their traditions and maintain their cultural heritage.