The lunch rush at Canter’s was packed on Nov. 2—a day after the historic, Jewish-style deli in Los Angeles was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.
“We were slammed,” Jacqueline Canter, whose grandfather started the restaurant more than 100 years ago, told JNS. “The whole community came out to support us.”
Police are investigating the incident, in which the antisemitic assailant spray-painted “Free Gaza” and “Israel’s only religion is capitalism” on a mural in the deli’s parking lot, as a possible hate crime. The mural depicts Los Angeles Jewish history.
Marc Canter, who owns the deli and is Jaqueline’s brother, told JNS that he wasn’t planning to call the police after finding the graffiti at first. “The first day, I didn’t want people to know about it, so there would be no copycats,” he said. “A neighbor saw the graffiti and called the police.”
“We painted over it a couple of hours later,” he said. “They put it up. We take it down.”
Marc Canter said the eatery staff is used to its mural being “tagged” with graffiti due to its large size and easy access. But this example was clearly targeted, and the assailants “planned this out,” he said.
“I came in at 5 a.m. and everything was normal,” he said. “By the time I left at 6 a.m., it was there.” (The deli is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with only take-out orders during certain hours.)
“In the hour I was inside, someone probably drove up, vandalized the mural and left. They knew where they were and what they were doing,” he said.
He added that the antisemitic vandals clearly planned the attack, as they used white paint, which means they knew the color of the wall ahead of time.
Whoever did this was “just trying to get a reaction,” Jaqueline Canter told JNS. She figures that the assailant or assailants did get one but likely not what they had intended.
“We were so busy,” she told JNS. Soon, she had to get up from the interview to fill a customer’s order. Her brother was working on a different order at the same time.