LA TIMES - Anti-Semitic fliers found near San Fernando Valley schools. Police call it a hate crime
Los Angeles police are investigating the posting of anti-Semitic fliers across the San Fernando Valley, including near at least two schools, as a hate crime.
El Camino Real Charter High School officials were notified Monday about the fliers — some bearing swastikas — which had been taped to signposts and traffic signal poles on the streets surrounding the Woodland Hills campus, said Daniel Chang, chief compliance officer at the high school.
It’s not clear when the fliers were posted, but officials found none on campus. A parent who saw the fliers near the school Monday posted photographs on social media.
One of the fliers asked readers “the difference between crackheads and Jews.” Another flier included a picture of a swastika with the question, “Is this a hate symbol?” Underneath, it showed a Star of David with the question, “How about this?” Messages on at least one of the fliers appeared to equate Nazism with Zionism and the state of Israel.
A flier with a similar message was posted near the kindergarten gate at Nestle Avenue Charter Elementary in Tarzana. The Los Angeles Unified School District said in a statement that officials are “deeply disturbed” by the incident.
“Los Angeles Unified condemns acts of anti-Semitism and any other symbols of hate. This is the responsibility for everyone, inside our schools and within our community,” the district wrote. “While Los Angeles Unified remains committed to educating students about cultural and religious diversity and the important values of tolerance and inclusion, we encourage this educational process to continue throughout the community.”
The fliers appeared roughly a week after similar posters were found around Newport Harbor High School in Orange County. Those posters showed up on the heels of a backlash over a viral photo that showed Newport Harbor, Costa Mesa and Estancia high school students posed in a Nazi salute while gathered around a swastika formed by red cups during a house party this month.
The incidents come at a time when hate crimes against Jewish people and institutions are surging across the United States. In 2017, anti-Semitic incidents jumped 57% over the previous year, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Hate crimes against Jews grew by 37% in the same period, according to a separate FBI analysis.
Los Angeles school board Vice President Nick Melvoin said the growing trend of hate crimes against minorities will not be tolerated.
“I am especially saddened by the proximity of these messages to our schools, just outside the space where we teach our children to act with kindness and compassion,” he said.
The Los Angeles Police Department is encouraging anyone who may have information about the fliers to contact detectives in the department’s West Valley and Topanga divisions.