Anti-Israeli slogans were found spray-painted at the protest hub in Silicon Valley against Israel’s judicial reform. This marks the first instance of anti-Israel sentiment directed toward demonstrators abroad since the protests began, spanning 64 centers worldwide.
Residents of Cupertino, California, were surprised to discover anti-Israeli slogans sprayed at the regular location of the weekly protests against the judicial reform, on the Mary Avenue bridge connecting Cupertino to Sunnyvale. The incident has been reported to the police, who are expected to launch an investigation.
“We’ve been living here for many years, celebrating Independence Day with Israeli flags and everything, and we’ve never had incidents like these,” says Offir Gutelzon, one of the leaders of the UnXeptable protest movement.
The incident won’t alter their plans, according to Gutelzon.
“The graffiti, ‘No Israel,’ seems somewhat vague and without explicit antisemitic symbols, so it’s unclear where it originates from. But one thing is certain, it won’t change our stance. We won’t be intimidated, and we call on everyone to gather again next week at the same spot. Graffiti is much less of a threat to us than the Netanyahu government. If the judicial reform passes to its full extent, our lives and the lives of our children will be in great peril,” he told Ynet.
“Much like in different periods of the past, during which global criticism of Israeli government policies accumulated, nowadays the criticism is fueling hatred toward Israel and exposing Israelis abroad and the Jewish diaspora to hostile actions,” Gutelzon said.
“As right-wing extremism in Israel continues to rise, it will only escalate actions against Israelis abroad. This is one of the reasons we’re urging Jews in the United States to join us, especially now. Anyone who holds Israel dear to their heart today is faced with a just dilemma – to speak out or to remain silent. Like the protesters in Israel, we too fear incitement and polarization, but we cannot allow this to halt us,” he added.
At this stage, the circumstances of the incident are not yet clear. The state of California has recently experienced a rise in antisemitic incidents, some of which are also directed toward Israelis. California’s annual hate crime report, published last month, revealed that Jews are the number one target of religion-based attacks in the state.
In 2022, the number of antisemitic hate crimes in California increased by 24.3% compared to the previous year, with a total of 189 such incidents recorded. This figure includes violent crimes such as vandalism and attacks against Jews, but does not encompass verbal incidents like slurs, insults or hate speech dissemination through flyers.