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Antisemitic Incidents In LA And Beverly Hills, Seemingly Prompted By Kanye West Comments, Cause Outrage And Worry

Kanye West, a 30-something Black man, is shown standing in front of a step-and-repeat with the words "LACMA" "Gucci" and "Art Film" printed on it. West wears a white button-up shirt and a black jacket.
Kanye West
(Jason Merritt
/
Getty Images for LACMA)
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White supremacists took to a highway overpass and the streets of Beverly Hills over the weekend.

On Saturday, demonstrators unfurled a banner over the 405 freeway declaring, “Kanye is right about the Jews.” They raised stiff arm Nazi salutes to drivers below. That night, about 25 antisemitic flyers were found at homes in the northern section of Beverly Hills.

Beverly Hills Police Department Sgt. Scott Dibble said that the flyer incident is being investigated, but at this point, no arrests have been made and there have been no reports of violence.

The name of a group appears on both the banners and flyers. Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse reacted to these incidents in a tweet, saying the group responsible for the 405 freeway disruption is the “same horrible organization that littered our streets with hate propaganda flyers.”

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The Anti-Defamation League said in a Twitter statement that the group is “known for espousing antisemitism and white supremacist ideology, [and] is now leveraging Ye’s antisemitism and is proof that hate breeds more hate.”

The Backstory

Kanye West, who now goes by the name Ye, posted antisemitic comments on Twitter and Instagram over the past few weeks, leading the social platforms to indefinitely suspend his accounts. He recently wore a “White Lives Matter'' T-shirt to Paris Fashion Week.

After these incidents, Ye agreed to purchase the social media app Parler, a controversial platform embraced by many on the far right that bills itself as the "solution to problems that have surfaced in recent years due to changes in Big Tech policy," even as companies like Facebook and Twitter have cracked down on what they see as hate speech.

A 'Wake-Up Call'

Jeffrey Abram, the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League of Los Angeles, said the antisemitic group feels endorsed by Kanye.

“This rhetoric has real life consequences," he said. "We're seeing it. We saw it on the 405; a well-known group of antisemites and white supremacists have now leveraged Kanye.”

California Gavin Newsom issued a statement saying the incidents are a “wake-up call to remain vigilant to protect our values and freedoms as Californians.” He added that Trump gave a platform to extremists for hate speech, which gave rise to the Jan. 6 insurrection and the incidents in L.A. and Beverly Hills.

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Antisemitic Incidents On Rise

Antisemitic incidents are on the rise, with Long Beach and Orange County seeing a steep rise in attacks in 2021. The Anti-Defamation league found 62 cases, double the amount from 2020. The audit includes incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents reached their highest numbers in the same year.

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