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Office of Los Angeles synagogue is targeted in antisemitic attack

Officials with Ikar, a prominent Los Angeles synagogue, confirmed that their office was targeted in an antisemitic attack.

Swastikas were scratched onto the office’s windows overnight Thursday or early Friday, according to a joint statement by Melissa Balaban, Ethan Goldstine and Michelle Rosenthal, the synagogue’s chief executive, board chair and board vice chair, respectively.

“Fortunately no one was present or physically harmed,” the statement says. “We have alerted the relevant authorities and we are taking all measures to keep our staff and community safe, including reviewing security footage to see if we can get further insight into the attack, and revising our security protocols for all locations where IKARites meet, work, and learn.”

The synagogue’s officials called the incident distressing but “unfortunately not surprising,” noting an uptick in antisemitic acts in the last several years.

“We also know that this comes at a time when we are all bereft and outraged by the mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, and Orange County, heartbroken as the war continues to rage on in Ukraine, reeling from the numerous attacks on reproductive rights, and still confronting the vagaries and relentlessness of a pandemic,” the statement says.

The apparent hate incident comes days after a rented truck bearing antisemitic messages made its way down Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Activists identified the responsible group as the Goyim Defense League, a hate group responsible for at least 74 antisemitic propaganda incidents in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

There has been a spate of recent antisemitic incidents in Southern California.

Residents in parts of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles awoke April 16 to find on their doors antisemitic fliers similar to others that were distributed across the region in November and December. All the fliers began with the statement “Every Single Aspect of The Ukraine-Russia War is Jewish,” followed by a list of government officials.

Previously, police collected more than 200 fliers in Beverly Hills and found that each was enclosed in a plastic sandwich bag containing rice — likely to weigh them down so they could be thrown out of a passing car. The fliers were also distributed in Pasadena, as well as in Texas and North Carolina.

In May 2021, several people attacked diners outside a Westside sushi restaurant, shouting anti-Israel slogans and flying a Palestinian flag before escalating to punching and kicking. Two reports of antisemitic graffiti at West Hollywood businesses were made the first week of 2020.

Officer Drake Madison, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson, confirmed Friday that a report had been made about the incident at Ikar’s office but said further information was not available.

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