Gavin Newsom Condemns Antisemitic Attack on Jewish Diners in L.A.

California's Governor Gavin Newsom said there is "no place" for antisemitism in the state as Los Angeles police investigate a violent fight outside a sushi restaurant as an antisemitic hate crime.

"CA is the most diverse state in the world's most diverse democracy," Newsom tweeted on Thursday. "This kind of hatred and anti-semitism has no place here."

Witnesses to the altercation said apparent pro-Palestinian protesters made antisemitic remarks outside a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles' Beverly Grove neighborhood and attacked diners.

Heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians—which The Associated Press reported left at least 230 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel dead—spilled over to the rest of the world this month, from widespread demonstrations to social media campaigns.

CA is the most diverse state in the world’s most diverse democracy. This kind of hatred and anti-semitism has no place here. https://t.co/J88BZs448T

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 21, 2021

Tuesday saw a chaotic scene unfold in West Hollywood after a group of men in a car with Palestinian flags brawled with diners at Sushi Fumi on La Cienega Boulevard.

In a viral video of the incident, a man with a megaphone says, "Israel kills women and children every day." To which another man near the restaurant responds with expletives. The protester with the megaphone can be heard saying, "You guys should be ashamed of yourselves."

As tensions flared, a person could be seen falling to the ground as a group of protesters approached another man, who backs up before grabbing a cordon barrier and swinging it at them. The group can then be seen beating the man against a parked car, before leaving the scene.

The man who wielded the barrier later told KABC he was out to eat with four Jewish friends when the protesters arrived on the same street.

"We turned around, they start yelling. They stopped the car ... they were cussing at Jews," said the man, who would only be identified as M. He said glass bottles were thrown at their table, before the men exited the vehicle and pushed his friend to the ground, leading him to grab the rope barrier.

"I realized I had to take something to scare them," M said. "There were many girls behind us. I was scared that they would attack everybody."

A witness told the Los Angeles Times protesters in the car caravan threw bottles and other items at diners, as well as chanted "Death to Jews." An unidentified woman told CBSLA she was eating at the restaurant and witnessed the men ask diners who was Jewish among them.

"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?'"

A man told CBSLA he was physically attacked and pepper-sprayed after attempting to defend a group of diners from the protesters. It is unclear whether the people he sought to help included those who appeared on camera.

"It was a hate crime," he told CBSLA. "It was prepared, they came to fight with Jewish people."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti condemned the "organized, anti-Semitic attack."

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

"Jewish Angelenos, like all residents, should always feel safe in our city," he tweeted. "[The LAPD] is investigating this assault as a hate crime, and we will respond with the full force of the law."

The Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey I. Abrams said the organization was "outraged over reports of this antisemitic assault" and thanked the LAPD for investigating it as a hate crime. The ADL on Wednesday announced a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the perpetrators' arrest and conviction.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) Los Angeles chapter also condemned the attack.

"As a civil rights and advocacy organization, we support everyone's right to free speech, the right to assemble and rally in support of their respective political views," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "However, despite heightened tensions in Palestine and Israel, it is never acceptable for that conflict to spill over into our streets and cities."

"Violence and intimidation should be condemned, investigated, and if warranted, prosecuted."

According to KABC, another anti-Semitic incident was reported in Los Angeles Tuesday after the glass door of a Sherman Oaks kosher restaurant was smashed.

Los Angeles police officer stands near car
An LAPD officer stands near a police car at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on April 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. The LAPD is investigating a brawl in front of a West Hollywood sushi restaurant as an antisemitic hate crime. David McNew/Getty Images