Police line crime scene
Police line crime sceneiStock

In the aftermath of the shooting of two Jewish men in a heavily Orthodox Los Angeles neighborhood last week, Mayor Karen Bass told 400 people attending a local town hall on violence against Jews that antisemitism “goes against our humanity.”

Speaking to an audience in the YULA Orthodox Boys High School gym that was painted yellow and black, symbolizing the yellow star Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis, Bass condemned the shootings. She also emphasized that she would hire more police officers and would institute programs to place extra cameras and license plate readers in the city, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Our Jewish community was terrorized, and that terror was felt across Los Angeles,” Bass said. “I have heard people say that they were afraid to walk in the neighborhood to worship this past Sabbath. I’ve also heard people, including one of the victims, say that nothing would keep them away from services. The fact is, no one should have to face that choice.”

The shootings took place on Wednesday and Thursday morning, with police believing the same suspect was responsible for both incidents.

Law enforcement officials said that the suspect has a history of animus towards Jews. When he was taken into custody, police found a pistol and a rifle during the arrest.

“Today, we’re not just here to stand in solidarity against last week’s shooting,” Bass said at the town hall in Beverly Hills, which was hosted by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. “We are here, locked arms, against all forms of hate, bigotry and discrimination, because antisemitism goes against the boundaries of our city and goes against our humanity.”

Bass made reference to recent antisemitic incidents in Los Angeles, including antisemitic hate flyers being distributed on doorsteps and car windows, and antisemites giving Nazi salutes while unfurling a banner over the 405 Freeway that said “Kanye is right about the Jews” in October.

She stressed that previous non-violent incidents were precursors to last week’s shootings.

“I actually look at it like it’s been an escalation that started with flyers – flyers over the weekend, banners across the freeway and, now, a shooting,” she said. “And that’s why it is so important that we act aggressively and immediately at the first sign of anything.”