The conflict in the Middle East might seem a world away, but tensions boiled over closer to home on Tuesday night. According to witness accounts, a group of Iranian Jewish men dining outdoors at a Sushi Fumi on La Cienga Boulevard were attacked by another group of men who’d reportedly emerged from a vehicle bearing a Palestinian flag. The Los Angeles Police Department has launched a hate crime investigation into the incident because the aggressors pointedly asked the other group of men if they’re Jewish.
Video of the violent confrontation was shared on social media. One man was punched and kicked several times, and subsequently went to the hospital, reporting that he believed he’d been pepper sprayed. That man, identified only as M, also reported to ABC 7 that bottles had been thrown at their table.
“We condemn this hate crime in the strongest possible terms and urge authorities to find and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement. “According to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics Report for 2019, the most recent publication year, Jews are the focus of 60 percent of religious bias-related hate crimes, targeted at a significantly higher rate than any other religious group.”
On Twitter, the American Jewish Committee posted video footage of the incident, thanking the L.A. police for taking swift action. The Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles also tweeted, “We are outraged over reports of an antisemitic assault on diners at an L.A. restaurant and thank @LAPDHQ for investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Criticism of Israeli policy is not always Antisemitic. Violent attacks while yelling antisemitic slurs is a hate crime.” That organization is offering a $5,000 reward for information about the men who started the fight.
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