According to watchdog groups, an antisemitic hate group was behind a banner hung over a busy Los Angeles freeway on Saturday that said, “Kanye is right about the Jews,” after Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, made a string of antisemitic comments in recent weeks.
As they stood behind the banner and another sign that read, “Honk if you know,” a number of people could be seen raising their arms in a Nazi salute. A third banner promoted the Goyim Defense League, a network of antisemitic conspiracy theorists, and their video platform that streams antisemitic content.
The GDL was responsible for hanging the banners above Interstate 405, according to StopAntisemitism.org, a non-profit dedicated to documenting antisemitic behavior.
The Southern California Anti-Defamation League said in a tweet that the group responsible for the banner was “known for espousing vitriolic #antisemitism and white supremacist ideology.”
“Hate has no place in Los Angeles or anywhere else, and these efforts will not divide us,” the statement said.
Over the weekend, a number of high-profile figures spoke out against the recent rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric.
“Anti-Semitism, in any form, is abhorrent. On the spot. Online. It makes no difference where. It is hatred, and it is unacceptable “Reese Witherspoon, an actress and producer, tweeted on Sunday night.
“I completely understand why my Jewish colleagues and friends are concerned about their families. This is a terrifying time “She stated.
“I support my Jewish friends and the Jewish people,” comedian and actor Amy Schumer said in an Instagram post.
“L.A. is a city of belonging, not hate,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote in a tweet condemning “this weekend’s antisemitic incidents.”
“Jewish Angelenos should always feel safe,” he said. “There is no place for discrimination or prejudice in Los Angeles. And we will never back down from the fight to expose and eliminate it.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., expressed shock at the “vile antisemitism on display in L.A. this weekend.”
“Tragically, it demonstrates the power some have to amplify hateful language, and how quickly they can persuade others to express their own bigotry,” he said, appearing to refer to Ye’s recent remarks but not explicitly naming the rapper. “We must condemn hatred wherever it appears — immediately and vehemently.”
The incident occurred after Ye, who has been vocal about his struggles with mental health and has a history of posting erratically on social media, made a number of antisemitic comments, resulting in the rapper’s Twitter and Instagram accounts being temporarily restricted.
The producers of the online talk show “The Shop” also pulled an episode featuring the rapper after claiming he used “hate speech and extremely dangerous stereotypes” while filming.
As the rapper faced mounting criticism for his remarks, it was announced last week that he had agreed to purchase the conservative-oriented social media app Parler.
The parent company of Parler, Parlement Technologies, announced last Monday that it had “entered into an agreement in principle to sell Parler” to Ye, who was “taking a bold stance against his recent censorship from Big Tech.”
The ADL has warned that “extremists across the ideological spectrum,” including GDL members, have embraced Ye’s antisemitic statements and celebrated news of his plans to buy Parler.
In addition to the incident on Saturday, the ADL claimed that the GDL was attempting to “capitalize on Ye’s comments by targeting the Black community with their propaganda and seeking to convince Black people that Jews are a universal enemy.”
According to the ADL, members of the group’s Telegram chat were seen discussing new initiatives in response to Ye’s comments, such as creating fliers blaming Jews for the Atlantic slave trade, and some members claimed to have specifically targeted Black neighborhoods during recent propaganda distributions.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments are investigating anti-Semitic fliers distributed in Beverly Hills. It is unclear if they were related to Saturday’s incident. The police departments did not immediately respond to an overnight request for more information.