Los Angeles police investigating vandalism as possible hate crime
A professor at Washington University in St. Louis praised pro-Palestinian protesters who vandalized a Jewish leader’s home on Thanksgiving morning, describing the smoke bombs and paint damage as “pretty cool.”
Anthropology Professor Bret Gustafson supported the vandalism targeting American Israel Public Affairs Committee President Michael Tuchin’s home in Brentwood, California, according to screenshots on X shared by Stop Antisemitism and Libs of TikTok.
“Pretty cool I’d say. Let those who enable mass murder not live in peace,” Gustafson wrote.
His comment appeared under a post by Peter Beinart, the editor-at-large of the Jewish Currents, who shared news about the Los Angeles Police Department investigating the incident.
“There are many appropriate ways to protest AIPAC. This isn’t one of them. I really hope this never happens again,” Beinart wrote.
Bret Gustafson, Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says setting off gas canisters outside the homes of Jews is "pretty cool".
LAPD are investigating it as a possible hate crime.
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) November 27, 2023
But Gustafson disagreed, telling Beinart: “Nobody was harmed. It’s an escrache tactic. (Look it up).”
Escrache refers to actions to shame and punish prominent leaders who protesters believe are guilty of human rights abuses but are not being held accountable by the justice system.
At Tuchin’s home, protesters set off smoke bombs and threw red paint on the driveway, and a neighbor who confronted the group said he was hit with a steel pole, NBC Los Angeles reports. Some protesters carried a banner that read, “F— your holiday, baby killer.”
Police said they are investigating acts of vandalism, hate crime, and assault with a deadly weapon, according to ABC 7.
Gustafson’s comment praising the vandalism no longer appears on the thread, and his X profile is now private.
Stop Antisemitism questioned if Jewish students feel safe in the professor’s classroom. In a post Tuesday on X, the organization said one of Gustafson’s students sent images of his classroom materials that refer to Israeli Jews as “Jewish settlers.”
One image that appears to be from a test mentions “Palestinians and Jewish settlers” in reference to the formation of the country of Israel. Another describes “Jewish settlers on Palestinian property” and “ongoing seizure and dispossession of Palestinian homes and land by Jewish settlers.”
In recent weeks, a number of academics have praised Hamas and pro-Palestinian protesters on social media.
One, oncologist Dr. Abeer AbouYabis, is no longer employed at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute after she praised terrorists who flew hang gliders into an Israeli music festival and killed civilians on Oct. 7.
In another case, a pair of University of Arizona education professors told students that Hamas is not comprised of terrorists, but is a “resistance” group opposed to Zionism.
IMAGE: ABC 7 Los Angeles