Jews spat at and punched in sickening scenes outside LA shul

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Jews spat at and punched in sickening scenes outside LA shul

President Joe Biden said: “Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American."

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Masked antisemitic thugs viciously clashed with Jewish residents outside a synagogue in Los Angeles on Sunday, amid rising fears protests against the war in Gaza are becoming increasingly violent across the US.

Footage of the horrific brawl, which occurred outside Ada Torah synagogue, in the heavily Jewish populated Pico-Robertson neighbourhood, shows a crowd of masked pro-Palestinian protestors screaming, swearing and punching Jewish members of the community.

The sickening scenes, which have been widely posted on social media, include people being kicked, wrestled with and spat on.

Resident Naftoli Sherman, who emerged from the affray with blood pouring from his face and onto his shirt, told Fox 11: “One person hit my nose and I felt many times someone kick my head. I was kicked all over.”

Rabbi Yossi Elifort, who attempted to break up the violence, told I24 News: “They came dressed a certain way with certain equipment. They escalated in waves. They really deployed as if it were an attack and so calling it a ‘protest’ does it a disservice.”

Witnesses said the masked protestors also used pepper spray against residents, with many suffering burning eyes and throats.

Some said they heard chants of intifada, as the violence outside the synagogue spilled over into nearby streets.

The synagogue was due to host an event on homes available in English-speaking neighbourhoods in Israel.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement that Sunday’s incident occurred because the event was promoting properties built on “brutally stolen Palestinian land”.

His statement also referred to the Israeli government’s “eight-month long genocidal campaign and ethnic cleansing in Gaza.”

President Joe Biden, leading condemnation of the violence, said he was “appalled”.

In a statement he said: “Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American. Americans have a right to peaceful protest.

“But blocking access to a house of worship – and engaging in violence – is never acceptable.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said: “The violence we saw yesterday in the heart of a Jewish community was designed to divide and create fear, but hear me loud and clear: it will fail.

“In less than 24 hours we convened faith leaders, community groups and law enforcement to ensure this does not happen again.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom said: “There is no excuse for targeting a house of worship. Such antisemitic hatred has no place in California.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, a pro-Israeli demonstrator who was carrying a sharp pole was arrested. LAPD is also investigating two reports of battery.

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