16
Tue, Jul

Violent Clash at Los Angeles Synagogue Condemned by Officials

LOS ANGELES

ANTI-SEMITISM - A violent clash erupted on Sunday between pro-Palestinian demonstrators and supporters of Israel outside the Adas Torah synagogue in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. The incident has drawn condemnation from several high-profile figures, including President Joe Biden, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

The confrontation, which involved shoving matches and punches, led to one arrest. According to a police spokesperson, the individual arrested faces a misdemeanor charge for carrying a prohibited item—a spiked flag—at the protest. The specifics of the individual involved were not disclosed.

"There is no excuse for targeting a house of worship. Such antisemitic hatred has no place in California," Governor Newsom stated on X (formerly Twitter). Mayor Bass labeled the violence "abhorrent" and emphasized that blocking access to a place of worship is unacceptable. She added, "I want to be clear that Los Angeles will not be a harbor for antisemitism and violence. Those responsible for either will be found and held accountable."

President Biden also condemned the tactics used by the protesters. "Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American. Americans have a right to peaceful protest. But blocking access to a house of worship—and engaging in violence—is never acceptable," he said in a statement.

The pro-Palestinian activists began their demonstration in front of the Adas Torah synagogue shortly before 11 a.m. and were soon met by counter demonstrators carrying Israeli flags. Videos posted on social media captured the chaos as fistfights broke out among the protesters, some wielding sticks and sign handles. Numerous scuffles were reported along the street, with obscenities hurled by participants.

The protest stemmed from an Israel real estate event hosted at the synagogue, which was rented out for the occasion and not organized by the temple itself. Pro-Palestinian groups had announced their plans to protest the event in a social media post, criticizing it as a form of settler expansion.

The incident is part of a broader pattern of increased protests and violence related to the Israel-Gaza conflict across the United States. Both Jewish and Muslim advocacy groups report a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents since the conflict intensified. The Anti-Defamation League noted a 140% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2023 compared to the previous year.

In response to Sunday's violence, Mayor Bass has ordered additional police patrols in the Pico-Robertson area and at houses of worship throughout Los Angeles. "I'll be meeting with Chief Choi tomorrow to further discuss the safety of Angelenos," she stated.

The LAPD confirmed that it responded to two protests on Sunday and that officers arrested an individual carrying a spiked flag. The person was issued a citation and released.

As the community grapples with the aftermath of the clash, officials continue to call for calm and emphasize the importance of peaceful protest. "Targeting a synagogue, or targeting the members of a synagogue, is anti-Semitic," said U.S. Representative Ted Lieu. "Anyone who engaged in violence should be prosecuted."

The incident underscores the ongoing tensions and the need for continued vigilance against acts of hatred and violence in Los Angeles and beyond.

###

Get The News In Your Email Inbox Mondays & Thursdays