A disturbing video spread quickly across social media overnight, showing a large group, dressed all in black and driving a vehicle streaming a Palestinian flag, attacking diners at a sushi restaurant in the West Hollywood area. The troubling incident, captured from multiple video angles, shows an all-out fight in and around the sidewalk dining area of Sushi Fumi on La Cienega.
Per CBS LA and others, the incident is reportedly being investigated as a possible anti-Semitic hate crime, after some witnesses said that the group asked specifically for Jewish people to identify themselves within the crowd. One diner also said that the alleged attackers could be seen throwing glass bottles and shouting anti-Semitic rhetoric. Per NBC LA, police are investigating the incident, which occurred around 10 p.m. last night, and medics did treat some people at the scene, though none were seriously injured. Eater called the restaurant to discuss the incident, but no one picked up.
The May 18 attack comes during a time of heightened anxiety both domestically and abroad concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East. Protests have recently taken place at the Israeli consulate in West Los Angeles, though this latest incident at Sushi Fumi seems to be the first outright physical altercation locally to stem from the Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Per Vox:
The current outbreak of fighting began with a series of controversial Israeli actions in Jerusalem — including the attempted eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem by right-wing Jewish settlers, an Israeli police raid on Palestinian worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque, and a planned provocative march by far-right Israelis — that prompted Hamas to fire a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem and other major cities in Israel. Israel responded with devastating airstrikes in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Both sides have continued their back-and-forth attacks for days, resulting in hundreds of deaths and widespread property damage, mostly but not exclusively on the Palestinian side, and the destruction of the Gaza media offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press in an Israeli strike.
This is not the first time that local restaurants have contended with anti-Semitic issues in Los Angeles. West Hollywood’s Bayou bar was tagged with anti-Semitic language in early 2020, while in 2019, Highland Park bar the Greyhound was the victim of anti-Semitic graffiti.