Valley Hate Crimes on the Rise
By Wendy Madnick, Valley Editor
In the latest in a spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the San Fernando and Conejo valleys, vandals attacked Temple Solael on July 31, spray-painting graffiti that read "stop murdering the white race." The incident follows the discovery a week ago by Agoura Hills residents of anti-Semitic fliers left in their mailboxes. The flier makes negative reference to the Anti-Defamation League and encourages racists to commit an act of violence against director Steven Spielberg. The fliers also contain a World Wide Web address for the National alliance, a white supremiscist group.
Capt. Bill McSweeney of the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff's station said that his department is continuing its investigation of the Agoura incident and has asked for the Jewish community's assistance in reporting any suspicious activity to police, no matter how trivial.
"Incidents of offensive literature and graffiti happen more often than police realize because people don't always report it," McSweeney said. "But having an idea of the type and location of these incidents can help us over the long haul. These people tend to repeat themselves and follow a certain pattern of behavior, so we can often figure out who they are."
The fliers appeared not only in Agoura but in parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, even cropping up in sealed food products, according to David Lehrer, the ADL's regional director.
Solael, located on Valley Circle Boulevard in West Hills, is the second Valley temple to be attacked in recent weeks; Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge was the other, according to police.
Lehrer said that he did not know if the people distributing the hate mail were directly connected to the National Alliance, which he called a "venomously racist, anti-Semitic organization."