(JTA) — A mural painted on the side of a building in downtown Los Angeles depicts a Grim Reaper in a blue cloak covered with Stars of David holding a dead baby.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office on Tuesday called it a “shameful act of anti-Semitism,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
His spokesman told the newspaper that Garcetti, who is Jewish, became aware of the mural through social media reports.
But according to the event space Vortex, the mural has been in place on its building for at least five years.
“The Vortex stands for free expression,” it said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The artist whose mural includes the Star of David (created for the LA vs. WAR show to acknowledge 9/11 about 5-6 years ago) did not intend to express an anti-Semitic message. We believe his intent deserves considerable weight. We invite those who feel otherwise to paint another mural next to it.”
Comments called the mural “vile and deeply offensive” and asked “What does a Star of David even ‘acknowledge about 9/11’?” Some called for it to be immediately painted over.
“This mural at the Vortex in LA crosses a line. We call for its removal,” ADL Los Angeles tweeted. “For a venue that purports to welcome the community, the Vortex should join us in condemning hateful imagery that invokes anti-Semitic canards conflating Jews with death, snakes, bombs, and killing babies.”