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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

Police, FBI Probing Anti-Semitic Activity

September 04, 1998|SUE FOX

Responding to a recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the Valley, the Anti-Defamation League held a community forum at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, declaring that "Our home has no place for hate."

The incidents began in late July, when residents across the region--from Agoura to Glendale to Santa Clarita--reported finding anti-Semitic leaflets in their mailboxes or stuffed inside boxes of food bought at grocery stores. The fliers included the Internet address of a Hillsboro, W. Va.-based white supremacy group, the National Alliance.

On July 31, graffiti that included the same web address was spray-painted on walls at Temple Solael in West Hills and Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge.

"Where hate mail comes today, books could be burned tomorrow, and people could be destroyed the day after," Bruce J. Einhorn, president of the ADL's Valley Advisory Board, told the audience of about 65 people.

Tamar Galatzan, an ADL attorney, said that as residents from Agoura to Burbank began to report the hate fliers, the ADL contacted law enforcement agencies, the makers of the food products and managers of the grocery stores where some of the leaflets turned up.

The leafletting and vandalism of synagogues is under investigation by the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, and other local authorities. Deputy Chief Michael Bostic of the LAPD's Valley Bureau, who also spoke at the forum, said authorities "have a suspect in mind," but declined to name the person, citing the continuing investigation.

Bostic said people who encounter hate leaflets sometimes assume police are not interested in hearing about the incident. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. He urged residents to report cases and promised his department would be responsive.

The LAPD Valley Bureau can be reached at (818) 756-8303.

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