LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Authorities are investigating whether an attack on diners that occurred outside a Beverly Grove restaurant late Tuesday night was a Jewish hate crime.
The brawl occurred a little before 10 p.m. outside Sushi Fumi in the 300 block of North La Cienega Boulevard.
Witnesses said a mob of pro-Palestinians attacked a group of Jewish men who were dining at the restaurant. Cell phone video showed a group of men get out of the car and start to attack them while yelling anti-Semitic slurs.
One of the diners, who is not Jewish, told CBSLA a caravan waving pro-Palestinian flags approached and then began throwing bottles at him and the group he was dining with. The man said he is a photographer, and the group was meeting at the restaurant to plan a wedding.
“I was speaking to one guy, ‘Relax, why are they doing that,'” the man said. “Just protest peacefully.”
The man said he was physically attacked when he tried to defend the group. He said the men used anti-Jewish profanity.
“It was a hate crime,” he said. “It was prepared, they came to fight with Jewish people.”
He said he was pepper sprayed during the attack and had to go to the hospital.
Another woman who was also dining at the restaurant, but did not want to be identified, described the scene to CBSLA Wednesday. She said the men yelled anti-Semitic slurs, including the words “dirty Jew.”
“Somebody in one of the cars driving by started throwing glass bottles or glass cups at the tables and they shattered everywhere,” she said. A bunch of the cars stopped and maybe 30 of the men in the cars got out, started running towards the tables and asking indiscriminately, ‘Who’s Jewish.'”
No one was seriously hurt. Los Angeles police said they are investigating this as a hate crime, with five victims who were either punched or injured by broken glass.
Investigators are looking for at least three suspects. The suspects were only described as white men wearing all black, as was seen in the cell phone video. They fled south on La Cienega Boulevard in a vehicle described as possibly a black Jeep, police said. The restaurant did not sustain any damage. Officers responded and took a report.
The Anti-Defamation League of Los Angeles is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the suspects in the attack.
Earlier Tuesday, a large crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered outside the Israeli consulate in West L.A. The rally was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement.
One of the organizers of that rally told CBSLA they would never condone such violence.
“We’ve organized many protests, Saturday’s protest we had more than 20,000 people that showed up and not one single incident,” rally organizer Amani Barakat said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, police are also investigating a security video recorded Monday night which appears to show an Orthodox Jewish man being chased by a caravan of people waving Palestinian flags near Rosewood and La Brea avenues. The man escaped and was not hurt.
In a tweet, Mayor Eric Garcetti condemned attacks on Jewish residents, saying, “L.A. is a city of belonging, not of hate.”
L.A. is a city of belonging, not of hate.
There is simply no place for anti-Semitism, discrimination, or prejudice of any kind in Los Angeles. And we will never tolerate bigotry and violence in our communities.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) May 19, 2021
This comes as Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to escalate. At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s bombing of Gaza, according to CBS News, while Hamas rocket attacks have killed at least 12 Israelis.
Over the weekend, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied in Westwood, calling for an end to the violence.
LAPD said no arrests have been made as of Wednesday evening, but that the investigations were still active.