Santa Monica bike shop displaying Israeli flag vandalized with phrase ‘Free Palestine’

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – A Santa Monica bike shop found itself the victim of vandalism when its Israeli flag displayed in the window was defaced with graffiti reading “free Palestine.”

Elon Rubin, owner of Sundays Cycles, located at 2411 Main Street, said he has been hanging up the flag in the bike shop window ever since the attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

Rubin expressed a firm stance against the vandalism, vowing not to remove the flag despite facing negative Yelp reviews as a result. Rubin believes the defacement of the flag constitutes a hate crime and has filed a report with the Santa Monica Police Department.

“We can agree to disagree about the conflict going on right now,” Rubin commented, emphasizing that not all Israelis support the actions of the Israeli government. “But Israelis and Jews are not going around vandalizing businesses.”

Rubin highlighted the disparity in approaches between his shop and those responsible for the vandalism, stating, “They show up with masks, we show up with our flags.”

In a direct message to the perpetrator, Rubin extended an invitation for dialogue. “My message to the person who did this, we have you on film and your face is covered,” Rubin stated. “If you’d like to talk and actually have a conversation, come by the shop. I’m not hard to find, I’m here pretty much every day of the week.”

The war began with Hamas’ surprise attack into southern Israel last year, in which the militants killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took another 250 hostage. They are still holding some 100 captives and the remains of more than 30, after most of the rest were released during a cease-fire last year.

Israel’s bombardment and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 34,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its figures. Much of Gaza has been destroyed and some 80% of Gaza’s population has been driven from their homes.

Israel’s incursion into Rafah complicated what had been months of efforts by the U.S., Qatar and Egypt to broker a cease-fire and the release of hostages. Hamas this week said it had accepted an Egyptian-Qatari cease-fire proposal, but Israel says the plan does not meet its “core” demands. Follow-up talks appeared to end inconclusively on Thursday.

Hamas has demanded guarantees for an end to the war and a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as part of any deal — steps that Israel has ruled out.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.