A photo tweeted by White Lives Matter California on Nov. 22, 2022.
A photo tweeted by White Lives Matter California on Nov. 22, 2022.

Bay Area antisemitism: Hate incidents pepper region

A flurry of white supremacist activity concerned Jewish and other minority groups in three Bay Area communities in recent weeks.

Two involved public expressions of “White Lives Matter,” a phrase used by white supremacists that the Anti-Defamation League has described as “a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

In Santa Rosa, Congregation Beth Ami nursery school employees arrived at the synagogue on the morning of Nov. 17 to find the letters “WLM” spray-painted on two of the building’s signs.

Rabbi Mordecai Miller emailed congregants to inform them about the incident.

“It was a shameful act,” Miller wrote. “It is our intention to add another security camera to the front of our building in the hopes of catching any such future wanton acts.”

Santa Rosa police were investigating the incident, Miller wrote.

Two days later, banners reading “White Lives Matter” and “It’s OK to be pro white” appeared on a pedestrian overpass in Walnut Creek. The banners also promoted videos denying the Holocaust.

Walnut Creek City Council member Kevin Wilk, who is Jewish, told NBC Bay Area that he believed the messages constituted a hate crime.

“Even freedom of speech has limitations,” Wilk said.

Walnut Creek police responded to the scene, but a spokesperson for the department told J. the incident did not “meet the threshold” of a hate crime.

In Oakland, a resident in the Lake Merritt neighborhood discovered a Goyim TV flyer on her car on Nov. 21. The flyer, like others distributed by the hate group Goyim Defense League, accused Jews of being responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic and listed the names of Jewish CDC officials and scientists.

The ADL has tallied 239 reported hate incidents in California this year through August. In 2021, the organization recorded a total of 367 incidents.

Lillian Ilsley-Greene
Lillian Ilsley-Greene

Lillian Ilsley-Greene is a J. Staff Writer. Originally from Vermont, she has a BA in political science and an MA in journalism from Boston University. Follow her on Twitter at @lilsleygreene.