September 21, 2002

The Truth Behind Anti-Semit...

The Truth Behind Anti-Semitic Attacks in West Hollywood, and Media Coverage Thereof: I made a mistake Friday I'd like to set straigh471038">posted a link to this L.A. Independent story about two guys getting gang-stomped in West Hollywood by a mob allegedly yelling "Kill the Jews!," and then made a comment how there was "No coverage yet in the Los Angeles Times." Like the jackass I am, I fired off an e-mail to Sullivan with cut-and-paste jobs of two L.A. Times stories about two West Hollywood guys getting gang-stomped by bigots. Problem was, it was a different gang-stomping, as I would have realized had I slowly compared the stories first. We don't get much gay-bashing in West Hollywood (which is one of the only fully incorporated gay-dominated cities in the country), so I stupidly assumed that this must have been the same incident. Sullivan posted an update with my erroneous assertion, which led him to conclude that the L.A. Times was somehow failing to cover the anti-Semitic element of the attack (when in fact, they hadn't covered the incident question at all ... yet!).

Confused? Bored? Well, now that we're talking about hate crimes in West Hollywood, and coverage thereof, let's continue. The "Kill the Jews" attack appears to have happened early Sunday morning. It was Persian Night at the Goodbar (spelled elsewhere as "Good Bar"), and Fareed Kanani and Michael Kashany, both reportedly Jewish, decided to head home some time around 2 a.m. Before they knew it, more than a dozen guys were running at them, yelling "Kill the Jews," kicking, punching, tackling. They managed to get away, and West Hollywood cops later arrested 19-year-old Daoud Mohammed Mavid and 22-year-old Mohammed Hassan for assault with a deadly weapon and "committing a hate crime." The Independent, a community weekly which I believe (but I'm not positive) comes out Mondays, had the story first. The L.A. Times didn't get around to covering it until today, six days after the attack, though they did get more information about the perpetrators (who are both out on $55,000 bail), plus a bunch of quotes from religious leaders denouncing hate crimes. Police are still searching for the other creeps who piled on.

This is disturbing on a number of levels. Los Angeles may be the world's capital of Iranian Jewry (according to the Jewish Post, there are 35,000 here, compared to 25,000 in all of Iran; I've seen other estimates putting those numbers at around 30,000 and 18,000). L.A., like many exile capitals, has a great way of bleaching out the tribal squabbles of back home; more often than not, that's why people wanted to flee in the first place. And that there were fifteen of these wretched cowards is a bit of a shock -- imagine what must have been going down in the Goodbar, to get 15 amped-up Jew-hating Persian-Angelenos racing down the street like wild dogs, hunting for some Semites to assault.

Finally, what disturbs is the same thing that caused me to screw up in the first place -- guys in West Hollywood are getting beaten with alarming regularity. The incident that got the most attention was on Sept. 1, when the ridiculously handsome actor/model Trev Broudy and a friend were reportedly jumped by a black guy with a baseball bat who cracked Broudy's skull, knocking him into a coma (which he has only recently come out of). The suspect and his accomplices, who were also sighted in a beating later that night, are still on the loose. Horrible as that was, according to one LA Weekly columnist, there have been other fag-bashing incidents that haven't made it into the newspapers.

Notice how the attackers need either A) weapons, or B) an outrageous numerical advantage. I dare any anti-Semite or homophobe to go mano-a-mano against any of the pumped-up WeHo boys, say, in a cage on the Santa Monica Boulevard center divider ... it would not be pretty. Check out the toughness of Kanani, one of the beaten Jews (as told to the L.A. Times):

"I was a little tired," he said. "We decided to leave before the group did, and, outside, at a bus stop, we saw this gentleman. He said, 'We're going to kill all you ... Jews."

"I went up to him and asked him why he would say something as harsh as that, especially when he doesn't know who I am.... He said, 'It doesn't matter. We're going to start with you.' "

During the attack, "they tore my shirt off, but I got away from the guys who were holding me back, and punched a couple of the guys. I got my friend loose. We ran toward the security guards at the apartment house."

That's 2 against 15, folks. Can't wait for these cowards to taste the pain of a fair fight.

Posted by at September 21, 2002 06:52 PM
Comments

Dear Matt,

Nice post. I wrote nearly the same post today (minus the Andy Sullivan part), and lost it this afternoon when I started laughing at this Peter Bagge cartoon -- -- http://www.reason.com/hod/cartoon.pb090602.shtml -- and stupidly hit the Moveable Type button to post Bagge's thing, deleting my five-paragraph deal on the pathetic attack on two Persian Jewish guys outside the fancy nightclub on Sunset.

You even blockquoted my favorite part of the LAT week-late story, about the two Jewish guys kicking ass on the mob of Muslims.

The Independent story was better, even though it didn't have access to a few facts released by the time the LAT got around to it. I was also deeply offended by the LAT headline ("2 Arrested in West Hollywood Attack"), as it completely avoided the issue of a Muslim mob attacking two Jews. Another deeply offensive thing in the LAT story is how the Jewish and Muslim anti-discrimination folks responded.

The ADL spokeswoman said:

"It's always alarming to hear about a crime such as this.... We applaud law enforcement for acting in this matter, and we're glad the victims have come forward to speak about this. The community needs to be more informed about anti-Semitism.

"Hate of all kinds exists in the community, and we continue to monitor and try to control it, whether it is directed at Jews or Muslims or others."

The Muslim Public Affairs Council spokesMan said:

"Law enforcement has been fair in prosecuting hate crimes by the Jewish Defense League against Muslims.

"We should all stand as a united community against anyone who commits a hate crime, especially that motivated by religion, because our religions have no room for hate crimes."

Notice, if you will, that the Muslim group immediately used the attack on two Jews as a reason to bring up those crazy JDL plots from months ago. That's why Muslim Public Affairs in this country is generally considered to be two-faced bullshit. "We did it, but about those Jews ..."

Finally, the Independent said the Muslim mob was as large as 20 guys. Twenty guys on two Jews, and the Jews break away, throw plenty of punches, and get away with cuts and bruises. As the Muslims stated they wanted to "Kill the Jews," I guess this is a shameful failure. Two of the Muslims were caught, and hopefully they'll soon be joined by their buddies.

As you said, LA is a place where Iranians of all faiths have lived in peace for as long as we've been around. It is sad to consider radical Jew-hating violent Muslims coming out of the Persian community. Um, didn't they come here to *escape* radical Islam?

Posted by: Ken Layne at September 21, 2002 08:59 PM

Like many other Americans in the past year, I started reading up, in my spare time, on the history of the Mideast. What I found most informative was by Joan Peters, _From Time Immemorial_. She recounts in painstaking detail the history of Jew hatred throughout the Mideast and North Africa, hatred which seems to have known no bounds, this despite miniscule Jewish populations in much of these areas. And it was and has been, no surprise, quite virulent in Iran. In fact, persecution of Sephardic Jews goes back -- well, as the title suggest -- a long ass time (ah, Islam, that religion of peace, W. tells us). Disconcerting was that persecution of the Sephardim seems to have been about as abhorent as that meted out to Jews in Europe, pre-Holocaust that is. The history of the Sephardic Jews isn't well known, I'd say, among Americans (especially to WASP guys like myself growing up in Brentwood).

I'd say Mideast antipathy for Jews is so culturally ingrained that I'm not so shocked about this attack in Hollywood --- of course, that's my Hobbesian view of nasty, brutish human nature...

Furthermore, historical Jew-hatred in the Mideast gives the lie to Palestinian apologists who would have us believe that their opposition to Israel is premised solely on right to statehood. Nonsense. If this were a matter of irredentist claims between Arab tribes, would we have ever heard boo about it? Would we have witnessed such carnage? I venture to say NO.

Posted by: Robert Light at September 22, 2002 12:59 AM

Live there. While I hate the LAT as much as anyone I doubt that there is any politics on their part in not reporting this. 18 million people live in the LAT circulation area of 1,000 square miles or more and West Hollywood is a tiny enclave of 35,000. Also,treme nationalists of Zeev Jabotinsky’s Revisionist party (the forerunner of the Herut party) would immediately recognize the tired and discredited arguments in Mrs. Peters’s book. I had mistakenly thought them long forgotten. It is a pity that they have been given new life.”


Even Daniel Pipes has said this book uses faulty methods, and innacurate history. To repeat: it has been discredited by nearly anyone of stature, including putative allies such as Pipes. Ms. Peters is not a historian, and the fact that this is your one book for middle east research is sad to say the least. It is the equivalant of Holocaust revisionism.


This has nothing to do with Islam, this is about drunk guys getting in a fight with a religions/racial element.

Posted by: Franklin at September 24, 2002 09:55 AM
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Robert Light your wild assertions have no place in reality. Show me evidence of intense Jew Hatred in the Islamic world and I will show you a place where Jews and others got along better than any other region on earth. "mideast antipathy for Jews" give me a break. Historically the vast majority of violence against Jews has happened in Europe, the birth place of anti-semitism as we know it, and the place where most modern myths about jews were created and diseeminated.

"From Time Immemorial" is a discredited book using the most obscure sources for the majority of its most shocking claims, and has been reviewed by American, Arab, and Israeli historians and debunked virtually line by line.

Here is a link to Israeli Historian (by the way, Mrs. Peters is not a historian) Yehoshua Porath's piece in the New York Review of books which reads:

“I am reluctant to bore the reader and myself with further examples of Mrs. Peters's highly tendentious use -- or neglect -- of the available source material. Much more important is her misunderstanding of basic historical processes and her failure to appreciate the central importance of natural population increase as compared to migratory movements. Readers of her book should be warned not to accept its factual claims without checking their sources. Judging by the interest that the book aroused and the prestige of some who have endorsed it, I thought it would present some new interpretation of the historical facts. I found none. Everyone familiar with the writing of the extreme nationalists of Zeev Jabotinsky’s Revisionist party (the forerunner of the Herut party) would immediately recognize the tired and discredited arguments in Mrs. Peters’s book. I had mistakenly thought them long forgotten. It is a pity that they have been given new life.”


Even Daniel Pipes has said this book uses faulty methods, and innacurate history. To repeat: it has been discredited by nearly anyone of stature, including putative allies such as Pipes. Ms. Peters is not a historian, and the fact that this is your one book for middle east research is sad to say the least. It is the equivalant of Holocaust revisionism.


This has nothing to do with Islam, this is about drunk guys getting in a fight with a religions/racial element.

Posted by: Franklin at September 24, 2002 09:55 AM
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