‘We will not move.’ Pro-Palestinian encampments, protests grow at California universities

BERKELEY —  Pro-Palestinian protests swept across California colleges and universities Tuesday as tensions grew nationwide amid an expanding student-led movement that has pitted administrators and police against young activists and intensified the debate over the line between campus free speech and antisemitism.

At UC Berkeley, students have set up dozens of tents in front of Sproul Plaza — the historic hub of the campus free speech movement. They vowed to face arrest as they demanded the university divest from investments in weapons manufacturers tied to Israel’s war in Gaza.

At Cal Poly Humboldt, administrators shut down the Arcata campus through Wednesday and moved classes online after dozens of students barricaded themselves with chairs in an administration building and police made overnight arrests.

And at USC, students said they planned to erect tents Wednesday at the center of campus. The school has been embroiled in controversy after canceling a pro-Palestinian valedictorian’s commencement speech amid accusations that she promoted antisemitism on social media.

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“We are in solidarity with students speaking up everywhere,” said Malak Afaneh, a UC Berkeley law student who is part of the “Free Palestine Camp.”

“We put up tents because that is how Palestinians are living now. We will not move until Berkeley divests,” said Afaneh, who is Palestinian American.

Tensions have grown at colleges since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 people; in addition, about 240 hostages were taken before Israel began its retaliatory war in the Gaza Strip. Gaza health authorities say the war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians. According to the United Nations, 2 million Gazans are in near-famine conditions.

The unrest, which has spread to more than a dozen American campuses from Massachusetts to California, was kindled last week after Columbia University President Nemat Shafik called in police to arrest at least 100 students who refused to leave a sprawling encampment there. Shafik made the move after fielding accusations about campus antisemitism at a Republican-led congressional committee hearing on April 17 in Washington, D.C.

Instead of cooling tensions, the decision further inflamed the campus. Jewish students, pointing to posters and statements made on and near campus that supported the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, said the university has become unsafe. Those statements were widely documented via photos and videos. But firsthand accounts from news outlets of the Columbia demonstration said it has been largely peaceful.

Now, tent camps in support of the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” movement against Israel have popped up at New York, Vanderbilt and Yale universities. Police have made arrests at NYU and cleared a camp at Yale, arresting 60 protesters. Columbia has canceled in-person classes, and, at Harvard University, the typically open gates to Harvard Yard were scheduled to be closed to the public through at least Friday.

High schools, including several in the Seattle region, also took part by staging walkouts Tuesday. Stanford University joined in Tuesday as local media reported hundreds of students gathering at Memorial Church in the center of campus for a “solidarity march” with Palestinians and American university activists. The event was organized by Stanford Against Apartheid in Palestine, a group that previously staged a 120-day pro-Palestinian tent sit-in on campus that ended in February when university officials removed the structure and banned overnight camping.

The national Students for Justice in Palestine organization has called for more encampments and rallies, posting on its Instagram account, “Disclose. Divest. We will not stop. We will not rest.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Gavin Newsom calls for a ceasefire in Gaza

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday he supports President Biden’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza, citing the “ongoing and horrific loss of innocent civilian life.”

“I support President Biden’s call for an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to secure desperately needed relief for Gazan civilians and the release of hostages,” he wrote in a letter addressed to California’s Muslim, Palestinian American, and Arab American communities. “I also unequivocally denounce Hamas’s terrorist attack against Israel. It is time to work in earnest toward an enduring peace that will furnish the lasting security, autonomy, and freedom that the Palestinians and the Israeli people both deserve.”

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Newsom’s statement came one day before the U.S. asked the U.N. Security Council to back a ceasefire resolution, though Russia and China vetoed it. And it follows other leaders shifting to more forceful calls for Israel to change its conduct of the war. 

On March 3, Vice President Kamala Harris, the former U.S. senator from California, called for an immediate, but temporary ceasefire — the strongest statement from the Biden administration to that point. 

Following his State of the Union address on March 7, when he announced a new effort to bring in humanitarian aid by sea, President Biden called for a six-week ceasefire and a hostage-prisoner exchange. And in a call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, the president expressed concerns about the civilian death toll and Israel’s blockade of aid delivery, according to a White House summary

And on March 14, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official, called for new elections in Israel, saying on the Senate floor that Netanyahu is an “obstacle to peace” and “has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows.” 

The governor’s statement, sent during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, comes after months of criticism by pro-ceasefire supporters that he wasn’t even-handed in his stance on the Gaza war

But in California, views have been more mixed. 

More than 60% of likely voters in California supported an immediate ceasefire in a poll released last month by the Public Policy Institute of California. But they’re more divided on whether to increase, decrease or maintain military aid to Israel and humanitarian aid to Palestinians. 

The state’s Jewish Democrats have been split over calls for a ceasefire; Newsom’s move puts him at odds with those who have opposed the idea and framed the issue as Israeli having a right to defend itself.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who has advanced to the November election for U.S. Senate, had rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire, but said earlier this month that he would support one contingent on Hamas releasing hostages it kidnapped from Israel, adding that “the obstacle to getting that temporary ceasefire is Hamas.”

Assembly Republicans have called for a resolution condemning Hamas. And in response to Newsom’s letter, Jim Stanley, Assembly GOP leader James Gallagher’s spokesperson, accused the governor of treating Israeli hostages as “an afterthought.” 

Patrick James, former professor and director of USC’s Center for International Studies, said that the governor’s statement has little impact on the conflict itself and that it’s rare for governors to get involved in hot-button international issues. 

“They have some involvement in trade and investment policy, and yes, they even will visit other countries,” he said. “But they generally don’t talk about things like this.” 

That’s why James sees Newsom’s statement as a strategic one: “It’s about a very skilled politician, positioning himself — and I think he’s doing this brilliantly — to be the Democratic nominee if there is an emergency and Biden pulls out, or for 2028.” 

“He’s hedged his bets,” James added. “He has not come out and said, ‘I love Hamas, and from the river to the sea’ or anything that extreme. He even has said some cautiously neutral to even pro-Israeli sounding things as well.”

In the letter, Newsom acknowledged the suffering of the Muslim community — particularly those who had lost family and friends in Gaza.

“The scale of suffering in Gaza is so vast that it seems few Palestinians across the world have been spared personal loss,” he said. “And now burgeoning disease and starvation threaten to deepen the devastation, especially among children. This is unacceptable.”

Newsom added that he will “always defend your right to take part in the California tradition of peaceful protest — to publicly express your opposition to any war or government decision you oppose, including the war in Gaza.”

Officials from California chapters of the Council on American Islamic Relations and other groups have been pushing the governor for months — including at a meeting in December, where community leaders and organizers from around the state asked the governor to call for a permanent ceasefire. 

“We’re pleased to share that after many months of advocacy by various groups, including a meeting CAIR-CA convened with the Governor and Muslim leaders, this afternoon, Governor Newsom joined the resounding global call for ceasefire,” said CAIR California CEO Hussam Ayloush.

The group also praised the governor for sending medical supplies and aid to Gaza. 

But for others, the statement didn’t come soon enough. 

“I certainly welcome Gov. Newsom’s support for a ceasefire. It should be noted however, that like President Biden, Gov. Newsom is making a political as opposed to a moral, ethical, or a principled judgment,” said Yousef Baker, co-director of the Middle East Studies program at California State University, Long Beach. “Newsom and other leading Democrats need to step up and show true humanistic leadership and put pressure on the Israeli government to halt its collective murder of Palestinians.”

In a statement Friday, the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California said it appreciated that Newsom’s letter included support for its core positions on the war: the return of remaining hostages, removing Hamas from power, maximizing aid to Gazans and minimizing civilian casualties.

“We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with Governor Newsom to strengthen California-Israel ties, achieve a peaceful and secure future for both Israelis and Palestinians, counter antisemitism, and make California a safe and welcoming place for all,” the statement said.

The escalating violence and worsening humanitarian crisis followed the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the militant group Hamas, in which 1,200 were killed and at least 200 taken hostage. Later that month, Newsom added a stop in Israel on the way to a climate change tour of China. While in Israel, he met with government officials and visited the parents of a Californian being held hostage. Newsom did not go to Gaza due to security issues, and his pledge of medical and humanitarian aid for Palestinians wasn’t fulfilled until weeks after similar aid was delivered to Israel, also due to security issues.

Click to read the full article in CalMatters

Golden Gate Bridge briefly blocked by pro-Palestinian protesters

Pro-Palestinian protesters blocked off multiple lanes of the Golden Gate Bridge Wednesday morning.

Shutterstock

All northbound and southbound lanes were stopped at mid-span on the bridge shortly before 8 a.m., according to CHP data. 

Both lanes had reopened by 8:30 a.m.

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Images published to X by a KQED reporter showed protesters holding large banners that said “Stop arming Israel” and “Hands off Rafah.” The latter is a reference to the Palestinian city in Gaza that Israel targeted with airstrikes this week in an operation that it said freed two hostages taken by Hamas.

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle

Shawn Steel: What I saw on a recent trip to Israel

The horror at Kibbutz Nir Oz is impossible to describe.

Two months after the October 7th terrorist attacks, I joined a delegation of Republican leaders on a 4-day trip to Israel. RNC Committeewoman Leora Levy, herself a refugee from Cuba whose grandfather escaped the Nazi takeover of Lithuania, organized the trip to express Republican support for Israel following the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

And when we walked through the scarred and burned-out streets of Kibbutz Nir Oz, the Holocaust is the only parallel that describes the extent of human suffering experienced on October 7th. Nearly half of the residents of this Israeli neighborhood were either brutally killed or kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. Many were burned alive in their homes. Those who ran were shot or kidnapped.

On Day 2, we visited under military escort the bulldozed remains of Sderot, where Hamas gunmen brutally killed 30 Jewish police officers and civilians in a surprise attack. Later in the day, we visited the Re’In festival grounds, where 300 people were indiscriminately slaughtered without warning in a frenzied chaos of torture, rape and murder.

On Day 3, our delegation visited the once-thriving villages of Upper Galilee that have now been evacuated due to relentless rocket attacks from Iranian-backed Hezbollah. We were honored to meet with members of the Israel Defense Forces stationed along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.  Most of the soldiers are reservists, who have left behind their families and jobs to answer their nation’s call.

On Day 4, just minutes before our first meeting in Jerusalem, two Hamas terrorists stopped their car in front of a bus stop and opened fire on helpless civilians. Three innocent Israeli civilians were killed and five others were wounded. Tragically, Yuval Doron Castleman, who previously served in the Israeli security forces, was also killed by friendly-fire when he bravely rushed at the terrorists with his firearm. At the time of the attack, we were just miles away, meeting with wounded IDF soldiers and grieving parents at Hadassah University Hospital, a nonprofit that has served patients of every race, religion and ethnicity since 1931.

“You couldn’t grasp it all,” U.S. Army medic Andrew Kiniry recalled of his experience arriving at Buchenwald concentration camp in April 1945. “I can’t really describe it, to tell you how horrendous it was to see these people treated like animals. Even worse than that.”

That’s exactly how I felt as we visited, under military escort, several of the Hamas slaughtering grounds.

In addition to expressing solidarity with Israel, this trip was essential in providing firsthand accounts that can confront the growing threat of antisemitism in American politics. Since the Holocaust, antisemitism has unleashed twin attacks on history and the Jewish people. One flank, Holocaust denialism, attempts to rewrite history to deny that the Nazi genocide ever happened.

Holocaust denialism is no longer relegated to the fringes of society, and it’s most prominent on progressive college campuses. A 2020 nationwide survey found a “worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge” among adults under 40. Nearly 40 percent of millennials and Gen Z did not know 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

From fake Facebook posts to AI-generated videos, we are seeing similar forms of historical negation about October 7th. Even supposedly reputable mainstream outlets, such as the New York Times and BBC News, falsely blamed Israel for the attack on al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza.

When antisemites aren’t denying the Holocaust, they’re celebrating the murders of Jews. Numerous progressive activist groups, including college Democratic clubs, chapters of the Democratic Socialists for America, the Oakland teachers union, and members of Black Lives Matter celebrated the terrorist attacks. In a since-deleted tweet, BLM Chicago declared, “I stand with Palestine,” accompanied by an image of a Hamas paraglider. Democrat Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is rallying progressives under the antisemitic slogan “from the river to the sea,” which calls for the eradication of Israel.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Vandals cover California Republican lawmaker’s office in photos of kids ‘Murdered by Israel’

Rep. David Valadao’s office was vandalized Monday morning in Hanford by someone the California Republican congressman described as “anti-Israel protestors,” according to a post on social media.

Photos on Valadao’s feed on X, formerly known as Twitter, showed fliers placed on the glass doors and a few on the brick wall that included photos of children and the words, “Murdered by Israel.”

“This morning, my Hanford office was vandalized by anti-Israel protestors. I strongly support the right to peaceful protest, but violence and vandalism are never acceptable,” Valadao tweeted. “In a democracy, harassment and intimidation is not how you make your voice heard.”

The images shared by the congressman also appeared to show a dark liquid splashed on the doors and wall.

“If these protestors truly cared about Palestinian children they would also support the eradication of Hamas terrorists, who are actively using Palestinian hospitals and schools as cover for their military operations and putting thousands of Palestinian civilians at risk,” Valadao also tweeted on Monday.

Hanford police Lt. Justin Vallin said the vandalism appeared to happen between 11 p.m. Sunday and midnight though police were still reviewing surveillance footage. It involved three to five people, he said.

The liquid on the wall appeared at first to possibly be blood, he said, but police found some discarded bottles that revealed the liquid to be a dark red syrup.

The office on Douty Street is a highly foot trafficked area about a block south of downtown and two blocks north of Highway 198, he said.

Valadao has previously tweeted pro-Israel statements, including a Nov. 3 message that denounced Antisemitism and called for sanctions against Hamas

Israel and Palestine have recently committed to a four-day ceasefire after the war erupted on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants in Gaza burst across the border into southern Israel, killing at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting some 240 others, including, women, children and older people.

Israel immediately declared war, carrying out weeks of airstrikes and a ground offensive that have left over 13,300 Palestinians dead, according to health authorities in the Hamas-controlled territory. Roughly two-thirds of those killed in Gaza have been women and minors.

Both sides have expressed claims to the land.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war. Settlers claim the West Bank as their biblical birthright. Most of the international community considers the settlements — home to 700,000 Israelis — illegal.

Valadao said his office remained open by appointment, phone, email or mail.

Click here to read the full article in the Sacramento Bee via Yahoo News

The Civil War in the Democratic Party: Pro-Palestine vs. Pro-Israel

California Democratic Convention events canceled after interruptions from pro-Palestine demonstrators

In the midst of enraged pro-Palestine protesters demonstrating around the country, the New York Post exposed on Friday that they are  “funded in large part by an uber-wealthy American-born tech entrepreneur, Neville Roy Singham, and his wife, Jodie Evans.”

“Since 2017, Singham has been the main funder of The People’s Forum, which has co-organized at least four protests after 1,200 innocent Israelis were slaughtered by Hamas on Oct. 7.

“One rally, in Times Square, happened on October 8 before Israel had even counted its dead.”

“Based in Midtown Manhattan, The People’s Forum calls itself a ‘movement incubator for working class and marginalized communities to build unity across historic lines of division at home and abroad.’” More to come on that.

Saturday, a much larger pro-Palestine protest at the California Democratic Convention forced scheduled meetings and convention events to be cancelled. Protestors even blocked the doors of two separate entrances to the Sacramento Convention Center.

“Hundreds of Pro-Palestine demonstrators interrupted California Democrats’ convention on Saturday in Sacramento to call for a cease-fire in Gaza, eventually forcing the cancellation of evening events,” KCRA reported. Reporter Michelle Bandur Tweeted, “Protesters interrupt #CADEM convention.. shouting ‘Cease Fire in Gaza’ while Rep. Katie Porter speaks. Kicked out of hall into lobby for sit-in.”

CBS News offered more details:

“At the corner of 15th and J Street, thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Sacramento Auditorium. Hundreds of Palestinian flags were in the air Saturday afternoon as people chanted and called for a cease-fire in Gaza.

This all started with a sit-in protest inside the Safe Credit Union Convention Center. The interruption forced the Democratic convention to come to a standstill for several hours.

Shortly after, demonstrators were seen leaving the convention center, marching down J Street and converging in front of the auditorium.

For several hours, the Sacramento Police Department shut down J Street between 14th and 16th streets, leading to a massive traffic back-up stretching to the I Street bridge.

Politico reporter Dustin Gardiner posted many updates:

What is going on in the Democrat Party?

Following the Hamas missiles attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel on October 7, killing 1,400 Israeli citizens, Democrats’ deep divide over support for Israel or pro-Palestine, as well as the U.S. response to the war, has bubbled to the surface.

Israel is now at war with Hamas. And Hezbollah.

November Quinnipiac Poll found:

“60 percent of Democrats disapprove of the Israeli response to the Oct. 7 attack with 27 percent approving. Democrats were also split on whether to send more military aid to Israel, with 48 percent against it and 45 percent in support.”

Republicans (73 – 18 percent) approve of Israel’s response, while Democrats (60 – 27 percent) disapprove. Independents are divided, with 44 percent disapproving and 40 percent approving.

The responses broken down by age are:

  • 18 to 34 year olds: 20 percent approve, while 66 percent disapprove in today’s poll compared to November 2 when 32 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved.
  • 35 to 49 year olds: 43 percent approve, while 41 percent disapprove in today’s poll compared to November 2 when 48 percent approved and 38 percent disapproved.
  • 50 to 64 year olds: 58 percent approve, while 29 percent disapprove in today’s poll compared to November 2 when 58 percent approved and 26 percent disapproved.
  • 65 years and over: 57 percent approve, while 32 percent disapprove in today’s poll compared to November 2 when 59 percent approved and 27 percent disapproved.

As the anti-Israel, pro-Palestine protesters stormed the Sacramento Convention Center shutting down events, they chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

“The slogan has been widely interpreted as a call for Israel, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, to be eradicated and replaced by ‘Palestine,’” The Algemeiner explains. “It has also been used to defend the deadly Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel that took place on Oct. 7.”

California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) issued a press statement late Saturday evening condemning the disruptive protests:

“Today, anti-Israel protesters stormed the Sacramento Convention Center and shut down the grassroots California Democratic Party Convention. In doing so, they chanted, among other things, ‘from the river to the sea,’ which is a call for the eradication of the State of Israel. They also chanted ‘resistance is justified when people are occupied,’ an apparent reference to Hamas’s October 7 attack — the largest mass murder, rape, and kidnapping of Jews since the Holocaust.

“A number of Jewish delegates — who were already very anxious attending the convention, given the spike in antisemitism since the October 7 massacre by Hamas — now believe it is unsafe to participate at all. We must never allow the Democratic Party to be unsafe for anyone.

“We fully support the right to protest loudly and vociferously. But storming through security and shutting down a democratic process — particularly with chants calling for the destruction of Israel and appearing to justify the Hamas attack — is completely unacceptable.”

Sen. Wiener has consistently called for the war in Gaza to end quickly, and the hostages released — “every single one of them.”

“So many of us want the rockets and the bombing of Gaza to stop. So many of us want a ceasefire and release of all hostages,” Wiener said. “So many of us want residents of Gaza to receive immediate, ample humanitarian aid. In addition, Hamas must no longer be in a position to massacre Israelis and others.”

Scott Wiener loses a lot of pro-Israel supporters with his call for Israel to “replace the right-wing Netanyahu government with a government that will pursue peace and a two-state solution.” However, political statements aside, Senator Wiener’s pro-Israel statements clearly go against many in his party, and have been unequivocal.

Unfortunately, in California, most Democrats have been silent about the unbridled explosion of antisemitism at public campuses in University of California, and California State University.

November 7th, the California Jewish Legislative Caucus, co-chaired by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) sent a letter calling on University of California President Michael V. Drake and California State University Chancellor Mildred García to act to counter the wave of antisemitic incidents sweeping their campuses since Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7.

By November 15th, the University of California announced it was pledging $7 million to address Islamophobia and antisemitism on campuses, EdSource reported.

However, UC President Michael Drake doesn’t provide many details as to how the $7 million will be used other than “emergency mental health resources,” for “students, faculty or staff struggling with recent events or with the climate on their campus.’”  He did assure that they will be “responding appropriately to incidents of violence,” and creating “a systemwide civil rights office.”

Drake said “$2 million will go toward new educational programs across the campuses, including programs focused on better understanding antisemitism and Islamophobia and the history of the Middle East. The remaining $2 million will go toward training campus leadership, faculty and staff who want ‘guidance on how to navigate their roles as educators in this space.’”

It sounds to me that UC President Drake has a serious HR crisis on his hands – as well as a politically and sociologically ideological crisis, which has been brewing for years, unfettered by any university leadership. It’s far too easy to spend the public’s millions with no real results – as long as it appears you are doing something to stave the conflicts.

Back to the California Democratic Convention protestors – how did it end? Did they all come together, sing Kumbaya, and pencil out an agreement? Nope.

Protesters really needed to use the loo but were denied:

Click here to read the full article in the Califoria Globe

Antisemitic graffiti found at Canter’s Deli

The messages are being investigated as a possible hate crime

Antisemitic messages found painted outside Canter’s Deli in the Fairfax District early Wednesday are being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police responded to the 400 block of North Fairfax Avenue, where earlier in the day images posted on X, formerly Twitter, showed the wall of the Jewish restaurant’s parking lot painted with the words “Free Gaza” and “Israels only religion is capitalism” in white graffiti.

“How many dead in the name of greed?” read another message under a black-and-white picture of the Canter’s Deli storefront.

The words were scrawled under the Fairfax Community Mural, by artist Art Mortimer. Unveiled in 1985, the mural showcases the history of Los Angeles Jews through enlarged photographs from the earliest days of the Jewish community in the city.

Shortly after noon, customers continued to stream in and out of the delicatessen during the lunchtime rush. Very few employees at Canter’s wanted to speak on the record about the vandalism, referring media inquiries to Marc Canter, co-owner of the deli, who wasn’t present Wednesday afternoon. Canter is the son of the late Alan Canter, the previous owner of Canter’s Deli.

Tristan, a cashier at the deli who declined to provide his last name, said he arrived at work around 11:15 a.m. and saw two cop cars and two police officers outside. He said he asked another Canter’s employee, who confirmed to him that the parking lot had been vandalized.

He declined to comment further on the nature of the graffiti and said he hadn’t seen it himself.

“This is L.A.,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Outside, customers leaving the deli hadn’t seen or heard about the graffiti, which appeared to have been painted over with fresh black paint by 11 a.m.

An LAPD spokesperson said police were called to the restaurant in the Fairfax District at 10:37 a.m.

LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes said officers were called about a vandalism incident and they took a report for a possible hate crime. She said police also responded to the 300 block of La Brea Avenue, where officers also took a report of vandalism and a possible hate crime.

The location of the second incident is near the synagogue Congregation Bais Yehuda, where Rabbi Yosef Mishulovin told The Times that he had gone Wednesday morning to pray when he saw graffiti there that also read “Free Gaza.”

Mishulovin said he found similar graffiti later that morning in front of his store, Chabad-Atara’s Judaica, where the message “Free Gaza” was spray-painted on the walkway.

Posters of Palestinian men were put up outside the store as well, with their names, ages and the words “Murdered by Israel” at the top.

Mishulovin said he called police and that they took a report at the scene. Though shaken, Mishulovin said he was trying not to focus on the incident.

“It’s very annoying and it’s very frustrating, but life has to go on,” he said. “Our eyes are looking forward, to make better people.”

On Wednesday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement condemning the vandalism in the Fairfax District.

“We will pursue those responsible for this unacceptable rash of hate and hold them fully accountable,” Bass said. “We will continue to collaborate with the Los Angeles Police Department to not only respond to these anti-Semitic acts but also to prevent these acts of hate from occurring in the first place.”

The vandalism comes amid tensions over the conflict in Gaza and the deaths of 1,400 Israelis and thousands of Palestinians.

Earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League said that harassment, vandalism and assaults had surged in Southern California and the rest of the state in 2022. But the Jewish civil rights organization has warned that since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, in which more than 1,400 people were killed in Israel and more than 200 taken hostage, incidents of hate against Jews have spiked.

Some in the Palestinian community have also expressed fears that the conflict could bring more hate targeting them, including those who speak out publicly about Israeli government actions.

More than 8,300 Palestinians have been killed so far, including thousands of women and children, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry. More than 1.4 million people in Gaza have been displaced and 21,000 injured, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The posters outside Mishulovin’s store seemed reminiscent of posters that street artist Nitzan Mintz and her partner, Dede Bandaid, created in a campaign to draw attention to the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack. The posters with the word “Kidnapped” and pictures of Israeli hostages were first posted in New York, and have been reprinted and appeared across the world.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Jewish Angelenos’ new reality

Amid anguish, anger and fear over Israel-Hamas fighting, many are drawing together in community more and strengthening their resolve

Los Angeles is home to the second-largest Jewish community in America, with more than 500,000 members. And for the last few weeks, it’s been reeling.

Since the ambush by Hamas militants left more than 1,400 Israelis dead and saw the kidnapping of at least 200 others, Israel has sealed off the Gaza Strip from vital resources and launched a barrage of airstrikes.

Jewish Angelenos are largely supportive of Israel, which declared war on Hamas, the local authority in Gaza, following the deadly Oct. 7 attack.

Many also disagree with the military assault on Gaza, and are heartbroken over the mounting Palestinian death toll, which has exceeded 7,000, including nearly 3,000 children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

About 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced, and Gaza’s healthcare system is teetering on the brink of collapse as water, fuel and vital medicines are running out, according to the World Health Organization.

The world is watching as Israel mounts an all-out invasion of Gaza.

The war is creating dual tragedies across the Israel-Gaza boundary. And in L.A.’s Jewish community — whose members hail from different backgrounds, ideologies, cultures and religious sects — people are coming together in ways they hadn’t before.

Amid the anguish and anger, the confusion and conflicts, some have found a new kind of resolve and a newfound community.

Healing through music

The crowd held its breath at Sinai Temple as Nilli Salem played an extended note on the shofar, an instrument typically made from a ram’s horn and used in important Jewish rituals.

“I really believe that artists are the healers of our time,” Chloe Pourmorady said outside the Westwood synagogue, where about 100 people gathered for a night of solidarity weeks after the initial attack on Israel.

Music is “something beyond words that connects people and brings comfort,” Pourmorady said.

For many Jews in Los Angeles, there are few degrees of separation between the U.S. and Israel. The extent of death and warfare in the region, considered the Holy Land for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, has been staggering — and has hit close to home.

Pourmorady was initially planning a musical gathering for friends, but felt compelled to invite the public so the community could dance, sing and cry together.

“Music is being used as a tool for comfort, healing and prayer during this time of great sadness and anguish,” said Cantor Marcus Feldman, who oversees the musical department at Sinai Temple and who sang at the event, which included performances in both Hebrew and English.

Emotions overtook many that night. Mikey Pauker’s voice broke before he started singing. He told the congregation that in the last few weeks, he’d been called a white supremacist for supporting Israel.

Azar Elihu, a former temple member, said the pain is universal and she grieves for both sides.

“Even I feel for the Palestinians. I cried so much for the little boy that was killed in Chicago,” she said, referring to 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Muslim boy who was stabbed dozens of times in a deadly attack carried out by his family’s landlord.

But after the musical performance, Elihu said, “This felt like something of a healing.”

‘What gets lost’

Nicole Guzik, a senior rabbi at Sinai Temple, said that in the weeks following the declaration of war, many in their Jewish community had drawn closer together, checking on one other. They ask: “Are you sleeping? Are you eating? Did you cry today?”

But they are also filled with outrage — and fear — as both antisemitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric abound online and in person.

While some in Israel have called for a full attack on Gaza, including a ground invasion, Sinai Temple congregants say they worry about innocent lives lost.

“I think what gets lost is that there isn’t a single Jew or Israeli who wants to see a single hair hurt on the head of any innocent civilian,” said Jason Cosgrove, who grew up in the synagogue and said he now finds himself explaining the war in Israel to his 7-year-old daughter and wondering when he will have to discuss antisemitism with her.

“I’m sparing her all of the gory details,” said Cosgrove, who finds himself taking breaks from the news when he can, but who also feels compelled to stay up to date on what’s happening. “I think you obviously can’t bury your head at a time like this.”

Amanda Kogan, who’s on the board of directors at Sinai Temple, also finds herself in the difficult position of trying to explain the war to her children. Her teenage daughter recently attended an event that involved a bus trip in Los Angeles, and the group was accompanied by an armed guard.

Kogan said she was doing her best to explain the complicated history between Israel and the Palestinians to her kids, noting that she doesn’t want to sanitize the details but that she also doesn’t want to alarm them.

“I also don’t want them to be afraid to go to school,” Kogan said. “I don’t want my daughter to be afraid to wear the Jewish star.”

“War is not fair to the innocent people. It’s terrible,” she added. “We’re trying to explain all of this as best we can in a very balanced manner. And no matter what, it’s all horrific.”

Sinai Temple boasts roughly 5,000 members and includes a private Jewish day school with about 600 students, a recreation center and a mental health center that offers counseling to the community.

Members say their support for Israel is unwavering, and have gathered supplies, including headlamps, tents, blankets and phone chargers to be sent in care packages, which also include notes from children. But grief hangs heavily over the community.

“As you walk through the halls here, it feels like a house of mourning,” said Senior Rabbi Erez Sherman.

He and Guzik, his wife, became senior rabbis after the Hamas attack as they worked to console their congregation.

Speaking out for peace

Estee Chandler was a child living in Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, fought between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Syria and Egypt. At the time, she worried every time her parents left their house at night. She would sometimes hear air raid sirens go off and hide with the rest of her family in the unfinished basement of their apartment building.

“Even back then, we had those places to go in. Now, Israelis have safe rooms in their homes,” the 50-year-old said. But “Palestinians who are being bombed — they have nothing. They don’t have those rooms to run into. They have no way to protect their children.”

When Chandler awoke to the news that Israel had declared war with Hamas, she started reaching out to friends and family living overseas. Then, she reached out to her colleagues at Jewish Voice for Peace, whose Los Angeles chapter she founded nearly 13 years ago.

“My heart sank thinking about what we were surely going to start seeing in the hours, days and weeks to come, and unfortunately, that has all borne out,” she said.

Jewish Voice for Peace and another Jewish organization, IfNotNow, have staged protests outside the White House and the homes of other politicians, demanding a cease-fire. Hundreds have been arrested while protesting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

While working for former President Obama’s 2008 campaign, Chandler said she saw “the intersection between the Israeli lobby and the Democratic Party politics.”

She was upset by “a lot of horribly racist things” that were happening and tried to educate herself as much as possible about Israel.

Chandler later discovered Jewish Voice for Peace, which was supporting a movement at UC Berkeley to divest from weapons manufacturers providing arms to Israel.

The group contacted Chandler and asked whether she would be interested in starting an L.A. chapter.

The daughter of an Israeli father, Chandler has relatives and friends in Israel and some fighting in the Israel Defense Forces, Israel’s national military. She also has friends whose family members were killed in Gaza by the Israeli airstrikes.

“My concern for my family’s safety and my friends’ safety doesn’t stop at any border,” she said. “It’s not a choice that has to be made. I don’t understand how people’s hearts can bleed in the same situation for only one-half of the people who are bleeding.”

One of Chandler’s friends is L.A. resident Hedab Tarifi, a Palestinian advocate and member of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders. Tarifi has lost 69 family members in the bombings in Gaza.

“I have a roller coaster of emotions,” said Tarifi, who was born in Gaza and moved to L.A. in the mid-1990s.

“I wake up in the middle of the night, and I can’t breathe. I want to cry, but I can’t cry. I’m mad, and at the same time, because I have to be their voice, I have to swallow my pain and my anger, and remind myself that they don’t have a voice while they’re being bombed and massacred,” she said. “I need to pull myself together and be their voice.”

Chandler and other Jewish Voice for Peace supporters want a cease-fire. They have been protesting in Los Angeles and recently attended a county supervisors meeting where a resolution condemning Hamas and supporting Israel was unanimously adopted after tense public comments.

She has been disheartened by media portrayals of the war as simply a battle between Israel and Hamas, noting that the events of Oct. 7 “didn’t come in a vacuum.”

“You can’t say that anything that happened there is unprovoked. You have people who have been living under siege for 75 years, people who’ve been living in a state of constant ethnic cleansing.”

While her support of Palestinian rights may seem unconventional in light of her heritage, Chandler said she wouldn’t be deterred — even if friends and family have opposing views.

“My family loves me anyway,” she said.

‘This is the never again’

When Mor Haim finally turned on the TV on Oct. 7 — breaking her usual observance of Shabbat — she watched as Hamas trucks bulldozed through a neighborhood in Sderot, an Israeli city near Gaza where she lived until the age of 7. She immediately recognized the street where her cousin lived.

“Life was sucked out of me at that second,” said Haim, 31. Luckily, none of her family was killed, but the grief has been no less soul-crushing. The brother of her cousin’s wife went on a run the morning of the ambush, and was killed. Many childhood friends were slain. A friend’s father died shielding his children.

“Even though I’m far away, I feel as if I’m physically there,” said Haim, a dual Israeli American citizen who lives in Woodland Hills.

Since that night, Haim said, she’s had panic attacks and has been unable to sleep well.

She said she tries to go about her daily life for the sake of her four young children. She’s found solace baking challah with friends and family or just sitting in silence with others who share her pain.

But the images from that day are seared in her mind, and she is afraid.

“I’m scared for my safety. I’m scared for my children’s safety,” she said. “I’m scared to talk on the phone in public, [worried that] someone will recognize my accent and say, ‘Hey, she’s Jewish.’”

“We’ve kind of been in hiding,” she said.

Haim wants people to understand why the attack on Israel — carried out on the holiday of Simchat Torah, a day meant for rejoicing — cannot be ignored.

She said no one wants innocent people to die — “not our people and not their people in Gaza.”

Organizers Behind Pro-Palestinian ‘Insurrection’ at Capitol Have Pro-terror History

he pro-Palestinian protesters who staged an “insurrection” on Wednesday by illegally occupying a Capitol office building were led, in part, by a group that calls itself “Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP) but has a history of supporting Palestinian terrorists.

As Breitbart News reported:

Pro-Palestinian protesters, who want a ceasefire that would benefit the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and staged a protest inside the Cannon Rotunda that one observer likened to an “insurrection.”

The Cannon Rotunda is part of the Cannon House Office Building. It is separate from the iconic Capitol building but is considered part of the Capitol complex. It is the oldest congressional office building on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who falsely accused Israel of bombing a Gaza hospital Tuesday, addressed the protesters.

As The Hill reported, three protesters were arrested for assaulting police officers.

The demonstration, it noted, was “organized jointly by the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and IfNotNow” — both radical left-wing organizations that oppose the State of Israel.

IfNotNow supports radical anti-Israel Reps. Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). In addition, as Breitbart News noted in 2019:

IfNotNow seeks to disrupt the connections that many American Jewish organizations have with Israel. It blames American Jewish support for Israel for the persistence of the Israeli occupation of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), though most Palestinians in that territory live under the administration of the Palestinian Authority.

In addition to staging sit-ins and protests, members of IfNotNow attempt to infiltrate Jewish summer camps and tours of Israel, where they launch demonstrations or expose the mainstream Jewish community to anti-Israel propaganda.

In one episode in 2018, members of IfNotNow were arrested while reciting the Kaddish — the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead — near the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, memorializing Palestinians killed in “protests” at the Gaza border. (The vast majority of Palestinians killed were members of Hamas, and they were trying to infiltrate Israel to carry out attacks, not stage a non-violent protest against Israeli policies.)

Recently, JVP spoke at a “Free Palestine” rally in Dearborn, Michigan, that defended Hamas. The JVP representative did not criticize the terror attack against Israelis — but did, ironically, criticize peace agreements between Israel and Arab states.

JVP, as Breitbart News has noted, also invited convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh — responsible for the murders of two Israelis in 1969 — to address its conference in Chicago in 2017 before she was deported for lying to U.S. immigration authorities.

Odeh remains an inspirational figure to the radical left in Chicago.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) Chicago chapter took to X to defend Odeh in the aftermath of Hamas’s terrorist attacks on Israel, which left over 1,400 dead and well over 4,000 wounded, with more than 200 taken hostage.

“For everyone withdrawing support, saying they stood with us & now they’re removing signs, bye, toodles,” BLM Chicago posted on X. “We’ve always been for Palestinian freedom… we stood with Rasmea, there’s no way you could have been with us at any point & missed that to be shocked now.”

Odeh, who served ten years of a life sentence for the Super Market bombing murders of Leon Kaner, 21, and Edward Joffe, 22, was released in a prisoner swap for a captured Israeli soldier and subsequently made her way to the United States after allegedly lying to immigration officials, as Breitbart News noted. 

In 2017, she cut a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors to avoid prison time and leave the country. She claimed the Department of Justice, led at that time by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was “too racist” to bother challenging in court, as Breitbart News noted.

She found herself at the center of anti-Trump demonstrations and issued a defiant address in Chicago, Illinois, before her departure from America under the plea agreement, as Breitbart News reported.

In additional tweets in the aftermath of the attacks, BLM Chicago accused Israel of “terrorism” and “genocide” while also posting a now-deleted image of a silhouette with a parachute bearing a Palestinian flag, and attempted to walk the pro-terrorism post back the next day, as the Daily Beast noted.

Click here to read the full article in Breitbart CA

USC Student ‘Diversity’ Senator Under Fire for Tweet Threatening to Kill Zionists

A student “diversity” representative at the University of Southern California is under fire for a series of explosive tweets, including one that threatened to kill “every motherf–ing Zionist.”

Yasmeen Mashayekh, a “diversity, equity and inclusion” senator to the Viterbi Graduate Student Association posted the now-deleted tweet in May, according to Fox News.

The USC student has a history of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel tweets including one from June that said: “If you are not for the complete destruction of Israel and the occupation forces then you’re anti-Palestinian,” according to Fox.

She has also tweeted her support for Hamas, whose military wing is considered a terrorist organization. In May, Mashayekh tweeted “Yes I f–king love hamas now stfu,” Fox said.

“Zionists are going to f–king pay,” she reportedly said in a tweet on June 21.

Mashayekh doubled down on her tweets on a podcast by Palestine in America on Dec. 2, saying she feels no obligation to apologize.

More than 60 current and former USC faculty members drafted a letter to the school’s leadership, calling on them to “publicly and explicitly rebuke Yasmeen Mashayekh for her offensive behavior and to distance USC from her hateful statements.”

Click here to read the full article at NYPost

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