Los Angeles police California
Los Angeles police CaliforniaiStock

Why should New York have all the antisemitic fun? There’s plenty of hate to go around, as the Jews of Los Angeles discovered on Sunday.

Many are calling the anti-Israel demonstration that took place outside the Adas Torah synagogue a pogrom, and for good reason. As anyone who has paid any attention to the anti-Israel movement could have predicted, this protest turned violent.

Shamefully, the LAPD played into the antisemites’ hands, telling Jewish residents they could not enter the synagogue through the front entrance rather than confront the mob making it dangerous to enter a religious building. According to many reports, this was on the orders of LA (Dem.) Mayor Karen Bass and other politicians.

Apparently, the freedom of speech of antisemites outweighs the freedom of worship and the freedom to not be intimidated or assaulted - of Jews.

Not content with targeting a synagogue, many members of the mob also prowled the streets of the Pico Robertson neighborhood, looking for Jews.

Sunday’s display of hate was so bad it had to be condemned by Mayor Bass and US President Joe Biden. Their condemnations are welcome, but the situation should never have been allowed to deteriorate to this level in the first place.

A few days earlier, another California synagogue was the target of anti-Israel protesters. The Shaarey Zedek Congregation in Valley Village was the site of this protest, a synagogue that also includes a Jewish grade school.

This time, as well, police allowed a synagogue to be targeted, putting Jewish children at risk.

Violence appears to be a feature, not a bug, of the anti-Israel movement in California. Recently, an anti-Israel group claimed responsibility for acts of arson committed on the University of California, Berkeley campus. In November, brawls broke out when anti-Israel activists attempted to disrupt a screening organized by Israeli actress Gal Gadot of the 43-minute video documenting the atrocities Hamas committed on October 7.

It is no coincidence that the one Jewish person who has been murdered so far in the eruption of antisemitism that followed the Hamas massacre of October 7, Paul Kessler, was murdered in Los Angeles.

The death of Paul Kessler did not serve as a wake-up call to the police or the politicians. Nor did any of the violence that followed. At some point, it was decided that it was ok for antisemites to target synagogues, something Mayor Bass and the LAPD would never tolerate if it was a mosque that was targeted instead.

Why shouldn’t antisemites engage in violence and target synagogues if the message coming from authorities is that violence is "protected speech"?

Amazingly, antisemitism appears to be even worse in Los Angeles than it is in New York, which has seen some of the worst antisemitic incidents and rallies in its history in recent weeks. There is also anti-Jewish violence in New York, as the assault on a Jewish woman’s family at a 5th grade graduation ceremony in Brooklyn proved, but a lower percentage of antisemitic rallies turn violent. So far.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvan Bragg’s decision not to prosecute dozens of rioters who violently took over Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall and who held a janitor hostage threatens to make New York just as bad as LA by proving that antisemitic violence goes unpunished.

The most shocking part of all of this isn’t the hate or the violence. It’s that there are those who are shocked that people who openly support Hamas, people who cheer the horrors of October 7, people who openly call for violence against Jews, might actually be violent themselves and put their rhetoric into action.

As long as antisemitism is consequence free, as long as violence is tolerated, hate and attacks on Jews will continue and will grow in intensity and severity. This tolerance for the intolerable has made Los Angeles the antisemitism capital of the United States, the place where Jews are most likely to be killed by Hamas supporters, the place where the supposedly ‘peaceful protests’ of the modern day Nazis are most likely to turn violent.

If LA loses its title as America’s antisemitism capital, it will probably not be because its leaders and police woke up and began treating antisemitism like the bigotry it is, but because people like Alvan Bragg made other cities safer to attack Jews than to be one.

In the race to the bottom, LA is in the lead.