A sign with the phrase “The Jews Want A Race War” was hung from a Los Angeles interstate 405 highway overpass on Aug. 22. (Photo/JTA-Twitter-Siamak Kordestani)
A sign with the phrase “The Jews Want A Race War” was hung from a Los Angeles interstate 405 highway overpass on Aug. 22. (Photo/JTA-Twitter-Siamak Kordestani)

Petaluma man behind antisemitic banners in Los Angeles

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

UPDATED 2:30 p.m., Aug. 24

“Honk if you know the Jews want a race war.”

That was the message scrawled on two signs hanging on a Los Angeles overpass on Saturday, in view of hundreds of cars passing on I-405.

The hair-raising incident alarmed the Los Angeles Jewish community and spurred coverage by the local press, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Times of Israel.

Now, it appears that Petaluma resident Jon Minadeo Jr. and a handful of antisemitic cronies known as the Goyim Defense League were behind the hateful display. Last year Minadeo was linked to antisemitic flyers posted in the North Bay.

In a roughly two-minute cellphone video shared with J. by the group StopAntiSemitism.org, Minadeo and the others can be seen standing behind the banners on top of the overpass, cheering as cars and trucks stream through. “I just wave at them and smile, even when they’re flipping you off,” one man says.

“Think about the thousands of people…” another said wistfully before trailing off.

The signs included an advertisement for the group’s video-sharing site Goyim TV, which generates monthly revenue via paid subscriptions.

Known as a “banner drop,” the act was just one of many exploits Minadeo and his crew engaged in while driving around Los Angeles in a white van over the weekend, recording their activities during what they called a “Name the Nose tour.”

Screenshot of a video posted on Aug. 23 on Goyim TV of Minadeo shouting at people on the street through a megaphone.
Screenshot of a video posted on Aug. 23 on Goyim TV of Minadeo shouting at people on the street through a megaphone.

The group published much of the mayhem on Goyim TV, a YouTube “clone” site on which Minadeo — under the moniker Handsome Truth — has hundreds of followers and thousands of video views.

J. first identified Handsome Truth as a 37-year-old Bay Area man last August using Sonoma County business records, after flyers accusing Jews of being behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks appeared in Novato and Santa Rosa. The idea that Jews celebrated 9/11 is a running theme throughout Minadeo’s videos.

During the Los Angeles tour, the group went to a Chabad center in Marina del Rey, stood in front of the building and shouted through a megaphone, “These Jewish terrorists are the people behind 9/11.”

At other points, while driving, members of the group harassed people on the street, shouting, “Wake up and understand that Jews have hijacked your country!” And to people wearing protective masks, yelling “take that Yarmulke off your face!” (Minadeo believes masks are a government conspiracy and are harmful to health.)

Shirtless and wearing turquoise shorts in many of the weekend videos, Minadeo is also clearly identifiable by a tattoo of a faded black cross on his left shoulder, the same one visible in a 2011 movie trailer for a low-budget romantic comedy called “Curveball” in which he starred.

The Los Angeles office of the Anti-Defamation League said it received “numerous constituent complaints” about the incident and reported them to law enforcement.

The Goyim Defense League “has been on ADL’s radar since its inception,” wrote Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, in an email to J. Monday.

“The core issue here may rest in the perpetrators‘ exercising their first amendment rights,” Mendelson wrote. “However it is incumbent on us to speak out against such vile antisemitism and related conspiracies.”

The national Anti-Defamation League wrote in a statement on Twitter, sharing an image of the banners, “antisemitism continues to plague our communities and it’s important to understand just how severe this issue is.”

The New York-based StopAntiSemitism.org tweeted, “We need strict hate laws in America, the current ones aren’t working!”

Court records in Sonoma County show Minadeo faced a misdemeanor charge for threatening a public employee in 2001 when he was a teenager; the charge was later dismissed.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.