On the first night of Passover, one of the holiest days in Judaism and a time marked by community and reflection, residents in Beverly Hills and Westwood discovered antisemitic flyers at their homes. For those in Beverly Hills, one of the only Jewish-majority cities outside of Israel, this marks the third such incident.
“It is regrettable and concerning that opportunists choose to spread their hate on any day, but particularly on a day of celebration and with so much meaning,” Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) Executive Officer Lt. Giovani Trejo told the Courier. “BHPD stands with our community to denounce this and all messages of hate. We are sympathetic to the concerns expressed by our community members, and we continue to provide a high level of visibility by adding more officers in the area, including private security officers.”
The flyers appeared similar to those from the previous two incidents, declaring that “Every Single Aspect of the Ukraine-Russia War is Jewish.” The flyers proclaimed the anti-Biden phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” along with the statement, “Every Single Aspect of the Biden Administration is Jewish.”
The leaflets also repeated phrases contained in the other flyers, including, “Every Single Aspect of the COVID Agenda Is Jewish.”
Residents discovered similar pamphlets on Nov. 28, the first day of Hanukkah, and then again on Dec. 18. According to Trejo, this latest batch of flyers were distributed around the northern parts of the city.
All three of the incidents appear connected to the Goyim Defense League, a “loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Trejo said that the department is “aware of the Goyim group, but we would prefer to wait for the investigation to be completed before arriving at a conclusion.”
Activists on social media had warned that “White Lives Matter” groups were planning a national day of action for April 16. BHPD did not immediately answer whether the department was aware of the warnings.
Mayor Lili Bosse, whose parents survived the Holocaust, decried the incident on Instagram along with a photo of the flyer.
“This was sent to me from a resident who woke up to this antisemitism at their front door along with other streets in our city and Los Angeles. During Passover and Easter weekend. Hate will NEVER Win,” she wrote.
Sam Yebri, an attorney running for Los Angeles City Council in District 5, shared images of the flyer on Twitter. “I never want to have to make a post like this, especially on the eve of one of our most sacred Jewish holidays, but this is a matter of public safety. Earlier today, residents in Westwood, in my neighborhood, found shocking and offensive antisemitic propaganda delivered to their front yards,” he posted. “Be advised, stay vigilant, and remember: only sunlight can drive out darkness.”
While the flyers contain hate speech by any standard, even hate speech enjoys protections under the First Amendment, complicating the job of law enforcement in countering the harassment.
“It is challenging to maintain a balance between criminal activity and protected behavior. We strive to maintain fair and just policing practices to ensure everyone’s rights are protected,” said Trejo. “We have an extensive network of in-house experts and professionals, federal and state partners, whom we brainstorm ideas with to come up with the best possible approach to challenging situations.”