Antisemitic graffiti in Fairfax, including at Canter's Deli, investigated as possible hate crimes

Canter's Deli
Los Angeles police officers walk in front of Canter's Deli, where antisemitic graffiti was found Wednesday on a wall of the parking lot. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Antisemitic messages found painted outside Canter’s Deli and other locations in the Fairfax District early Wednesday are being investigated as possible hate crimes, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police responded to the 400 block of North Fairfax Avenue, where earlier in the day images posted on X, formerly Twitter, showed the wall of the Jewish restaurant’s parking lot painted with the words “Free Gaza” and “Israels only religion is capitalism” in white graffiti.

“How many dead in the name of greed?” read another message under a black-and-white picture of the Canter’s Deli storefront.

The words were scrawled under the Fairfax Community Mural, by artist Art Mortimer, which depicts the history and culture of the Jewish community in Los Angeles.

By 11 a.m. Wednesday, the graffiti had been covered in a coat of fresh black paint.

Read more: Alan Canter, owner of Los Angeles landmark Canter's Deli, dies at 82

A man walks past the wall of the parking lot at Canter's Deli.
A man walks past the wall of the parking lot at Canter's Deli, where antisemitic graffiti had already been painted over Wednesday. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

An LAPD spokesperson said police were called to the restaurant in the Fairfax District at 10:37 a.m.

LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes said officers were called about a vandalism incident and they took a report for a possible hate crime. She said police also responded to the 300 block of La Brea Avenue, where officers also took a report of vandalism and a possible hate crime.

The location of the second incident is near the synagogue Congregation Bais Yehuda, where Rabbi Yosef Mishulovin told The Times that he had gone Wednesday morning to pray when he saw graffiti there that also read "Free Gaza."

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Mishulovin said he found similar graffiti later that morning in front of his store, Chabad-Atara's Judaica, where the message "Free Gaza" was spray-painted on the walkway.

Rabbi Yosef Mishulovin stands next to "Free Gaza" graffiti.
Rabbi Yosef Mishulovin, owner of Chabad-Atara's Judaica, stands next to graffiti that was spray-painted in front of the store in the Fairfax District. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Posters of Palestinian men were put up outside the store as well, with their names, ages and the words "Murdered by Israel" at the top.

Mishulovin said he called police and that they took a report at the scene. Though shaken, Mishulovin said he was trying not to focus on the incident.

"It's very annoying and it's very frustrating, but life has to go on," he said. "Our eyes are looking forward, to make better people."

Read more: For L.A. Jews, weeks of war have changed everything

Mishulovin said he had not seen similar vandalism incidents recently, but added that he would try to watch out for possible threats to his store.

"There will always be people like that," he said.

The vandalism comes as the conflict in Gaza and the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians have raised tensions and spurred protests in and around Los Angeles, the United States and around the world.

Earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League said that harassment, vandalism and assaults had surged in Southern California and the rest of the state in 2022. But the Jewish civil rights organization has warned that since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, in which more than 1,400 people were killed in Israel and more than 200 taken hostage, incidents of hate against Jews have spiked.

Read more: Antisemitic incidents surged in California as conspiracies fueled hate, report says

More than 8,300 Palestinians have been killed so far, including thousands of women and children, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry. More than 1.4 million people in Gaza have been displaced and 21,000 injured, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

On Wednesday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement condemning the incidents of vandalism in the Fairfax District.

"We will pursue those responsible for this unacceptable rash of hate and hold them fully accountable," Bass said. "We will continue to collaborate with the Los Angeles Police Department to not only respond to these anti-Semitic acts but also to prevent these acts of hate from occurring in the first place."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.