It’s entirely possible that this was not a hate crime, as the Los Angeles Police Department is theorizing. The motorist who seemed intent on hitting two pedestrians near a synagogue in Los Angeles’s Hancock Park neighborhood last Friday may not have been cognizant of the fact they were dressed, as The Hill puts it, in “clothing typically worn by Orthodox Jews on Shabbat.”
Neither can we be certain that the driver, who has been identified as 32-year-old Mohammed Mohammed, is an anti-Semite. Lots of people with Arabic names aren’t.
Nor can we deduce from his having slammed on his brakes and done a sharp U-turn in preparation for a second pass at the two now-scurrying pedestrians that his goal was to run them down.
But when you add up all the details — including the insults he hurled at a group of people leaving the synagogue before jumping behind the wheel of his car for a round of Whack-a-Jew — it’s hard to write off the incident to Mohammed’s being a lousy driver.
There’s also this:
There has been an increase in anti-Semitic hate incidents in recent years, with an almost 37 percent spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2017, according to the FBI in a recent report.
So why is the LAPD unwilling to classify the incident as a hate crime?