3D-printed firearms plot exposes alarming antisemitism surge in LA

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles revealed its role in the arrest of a white supremacist in California.

 Illustrative image of a firearm. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Illustrative image of a firearm.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles revealed Saturday that its surveillance of an extremist in Reseda, California is what led to his apprehension earlier this summer by the local police. 

The Federation, which oversees one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States spoke about its role over the weekend, including concerns about a recent surge in antisemitic incidents in the region.

In a recent and unsettling turn of events, law enforcement apprehended a man with connections to white supremacist groups in Reseda. This arrest sent shockwaves through the community, underscoring the increasing threat faced by the Jewish population. The suspect's online activities, meticulously documented by the US Attorney’s Office Central District of California Office, exposed disturbing elements, including the sharing of images showcasing firearms manufactured using a 3-D printer, along with advocating for mass violence against Jews.

Recognizing the gravity of this threat, law enforcement authorities have deemed it a credible and immediate concern, necessitating a strong response to counter the rising tide of antisemitism in Los Angeles.

According to the statement, central to the Federation's efforts to ensure community safety is the Community Security Initiative (CSI), launched in 2012. CSI plays a pivotal role in fortifying the security of schools, synagogues, summer camps, and other vital institutions within the Jewish community. Serving as a hub for security consulting, incident coordination, and resource sharing, CSI collaborates extensively with national Jewish organizations, creating a robust network to protect against threats.

The work of CSI was showcased when the suspect's alleged online activities were first identified in March 2022. Over the course of several months into early 2023, CSI compiled and delivered two comprehensive suspicious activity reports to law enforcement and government partners. These reports meticulously detailed the gravity of the threats emanating from the suspect's online presence. From neo-Nazi propaganda dissemination to violent calls against the Jewish community, the reports highlighted the disturbing nature of the suspect's actions.

 THE WRITER (far left) sits alongside former LA mayor Eric Garcetti, joined by other city leaders and ADL representatives, discussing antisemitism at a gathering convened by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.  (credit: JD Dominguez)
THE WRITER (far left) sits alongside former LA mayor Eric Garcetti, joined by other city leaders and ADL representatives, discussing antisemitism at a gathering convened by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. (credit: JD Dominguez)

About two weeks ago, authorities filed criminal charges against Ryan Scott Bradford, a 34-year-old resident of Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, associated with a violent extremist group driven by racial motives, according to a report by Homeland Security Today. According to the report, Bradford was taken into custody on July 27 at his residence on charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and illegal possession of ammunition. According to the allegations outlined in the complaint, Bradford was engaged in online activities between 2021 and January 2023. He reportedly shared online messages and images showcasing his utilization of a 3-D printer for the manufacturing of firearms. Furthermore, the complaint asserts that Bradford's online presence included incendiary calls for the mass murder of Jews. The arrest and subsequent charges highlight the grave concerns surrounding Bradford's alleged activities and their potential implications for public safety.

As of 2021, it is estimated that the Los Angeles catchment area is home to nearly 300,000 Jewish households. These households include almost 740,000 individuals, of whom 564,700  are Jewish. 

Almost all Jewish adults in LA concerned about antisemitism

According to the 2021 Study of Jewish LA, organized by the Jewish Federation, nearly all Jewish adults in Los Angeles expressed concern about antisemitism. Three-quarters were very concerned about antisemitism around the world, and nearly 70% were very concerned about antisemitism in the US. Nearly one-in-five Jewish adults in LA indicated that they personally experienced antisemitism in the previous year. Almost half of Jewish adults listed combating antisemitism as one of their top causes when asked about volunteering and philanthropy.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents issued in March found that in 2022, the Jewish community of Los Angeles experienced 237 recorded incidents (up 30% from 182 incidents in 2021), including 143 incidents of harassment (up 38% from 104 in 2021), 86 incidents of vandalism of businesses, places of worship, and schools(up from 64 in 2021) and 8 incidents of assault (down from 14 in 2021).

According to the audit, hip-hop artist Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) was directly referenced in 59 incidents nationally, an example of how his highly publicized antisemitic statements last year resonated with or motivated perpetrators.

Rabbi Noah Farkas, resident and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said in a statement on Sunday that "the threats against our Los Angeles community are real and they are growing. In this case, the detailed and thorough work of our Federation’s Community Security Initiative's (CSI) collaboration and close partnership with law enforcement led directly to the apprehension of the suspect. 

"Every day, our CSI team monitors threats against the Jewish community. There is no greater proof that CSI is a necessary and effective means for keeping Jewish safe here in LA and across the American Diaspora."