A Los Angeles resident discovered graffiti stating “The Jew Is Guilty” on the sidewalk of the Abbott Kinney area of Venice Beach on April 20. The resident, Daniel Khalili, posted a video of himself on Instagram spray-painting over the graffiti.
View this post on Instagram
Khalili told the Journal that he found at least three instances of the phrase on the sidewalk in the area. He decided to take matters into his own hands and cover up the graffiti with spray paint because he thinks the city has been too slow in prior circumstances. “I didn’t want whoever put that on there to think that this is something that can be put on and people can just walk by and look at it and be okay with it.”
He isn’t concerned about any legal repercussions from covering up the graffiti with spray-paint, which could be considered vandalism under the law. “I’ve seen in the last year a lot of destruction done in the name of social justice, and when I walk and I see blatant anti-Semitism right in front of me, right in my backyard on the floor, I was not worried about the repercussions that could be possible I could face upon doing this.” And if he does face any legal repercussions, “so be it. But I will always stand up for my people.”
Khalili added that he has received a lot of positive feedback on Instagram for crossing out the graffiti, and that he has even gotten messages from people in Europe who were surprised that such graffiti existed in Los Angeles. “They didn’t think that anti-Semitism reaches all the way to California.”
Jewish groups condemned the original graffiti. “We are concerned by a spate of blatantly antisemitic graffiti on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams said in a statement to the Journal. “We have notified LAPD [Los Angeles Police Department] about these incidents. Given the high levels of antisemitic incidents in CA, and around the country, we urge the community to report any and all suspected hate incidents to law enforcement and ADL.”
American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director Richard S. Hirschhaut similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “At first blush, it may seem refreshing to see someone with a spray can in hand out to ‘erase’ antisemitism when it appears on public property. Though such corrective action may be well-intentioned, we would recommend that the Department of Public Works be informed of such hateful graffiti. Ultimately, it is their job to remove it.”
StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein also said in a statement to the Journal, “We are disappointed to learn about yet another act of antisemitic vandalism, this time in a popular shopping area of Los Angeles. When people cannot enjoy the city without running into these kinds of hateful messages scapegoating the Jewish people and polluting the minds of others with this kind of vitriol, it is a sad day in our society.
“We urge anyone with information about the perpetrator(s) to contact local law enforcement. And we encourage business owners in this area to consider countering these messages of hate by posting messages of unity and solidarity to make clear that antisemitism and other forms of hate will not win the day.”