Left-wing Jews may hope that their increased willingness to criticize Israel might spare them some of the worst of anti-Israel hatred from Palestinian advocates and antisemites. Not so, sadly. The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reports that a beautiful mural along the outer wall of the Arbeter Ring/Workmen’s Circle Southern California facility in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood was defaced with “Free Palestine!!!!” graffiti Thursday.
Robert Adler-Peckerar, executive director of the L.A.-based organization Yiddishkayt, which is a frequent collaborator with the national office and local branch of Workmen’s Circle, said the message of the graffiti reflects an ignorance about the mission of the victimized group. He described Workmen’s Circle as being historically committed to ideas of “social progress, equality, human rights, civil rights and the general pursuit of human dignity,” which includes promoting a “progressive, peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.
“I feel like this [the graffiti] indicates something much more about thoughtlessness than about an actual commitment to a free Palestine,” Adler-Peckerar said in an interview. “And a tremendous amount of cultural illiteracy [on the vandal(s)’ part].”
Workmen’s Circle, an educational organization that celebrates Yiddish culture, emphasizes the Jewish connection to social justice and more, has evolved over the years since its founding in 1900 by what it describes on its website as a group of “progressive-minded Jews.”
The mural was painted in 1998 by Elisio Art Silva, and counter-grafitti has reportedly already been posted.
Photo credit: Jewish Journal/Julie Fax