Elected Los Angeles clerics condemn local hate crimes

Dozens of elected officials, religious leaders and community organizers gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, May 20 to condemn recent hate crimes in the city, including an attack on Jewish diners in a Beverly Grove restaurant by a pro-Palestinian group.

“We oppose the idea that Jews should be singled out and attacked because of who they are,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the rally outside town hall.

The attack on Jewish diners occurred shortly before 10 p.m. outside Sushi Fumi in the 300 block of North La Cienega Boulevard on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which confirmed that the incident was causing concern. under investigation as a possible hate crime. Witnesses said the attack, which was filmed on a cell phone, was carried out as a caravan of vehicles displaying pro-Palestinian flags provoked crowds and threw bottles at other diners.

On Monday, another incident was filmed, showing an Orthodox Jewish man being chased by a caravan of people waving Palestinian flags near Rosewood and La Brea avenues. The man escaped and was not injured.

The incidents occurred in the wake of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which at least 200 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, while Hamas rocket attacks killed at least 12 Israelis. The two sides declared a ceasefire on Thursday.

Local officials gathered in downtown Los Angeles condemned the local attacks, which Los Angeles Police said were linked, though no further details were disclosed.

“This cannot go on,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “We cannot allow the importation of the Hamas war into our beloved city. LA is the second largest city of all national and ethnic groups in the world. “

Hedab Tirefi of the Southern California Islamic Center said the center “unequivocally condemns attacks by individuals in a vehicle waving the Palestinian flag and provoking and inciting attacks in a predominantly Jewish part of Los Angeles.”

City councilor Paul Koretz said he was “outraged” by the local attacks.

“Both of these acts were anti-Semitic hate crimes and they are unacceptable,” he said. “Today we come together as elected leaders, law enforcement officials and religious leaders to continue the critical conversation about what we need to do to make our streets and neighborhoods safe as we try to heal.

On Tuesday, a large crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate in West Los Angeles. The rally was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement. Over the weekend, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in Westwood to demand an end to the violence.

The local office of the Council on American Islamic Relations issued the following statement on Wednesday: “As a civil rights and human rights organization, we support the right of everyone to freedom of expression, the right to come together and come together to support their respective political views.

“However, despite the heightened tensions in Palestine and Israel, it is never acceptable for this conflict to spill over into our streets and cities. Violence and intimidation must be condemned, investigated and, if justified, prosecuted. “

The Anti-Defamation League announced a reward of $ 5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person (s) responsible for the assault on the guests.

The Greater Los Angeles Jewish Federation’s Community Safety Initiative held a briefing Thursday morning with local and national politicians and law enforcement officials to “address these pressing and deep concerns.”

“CSI is reaching out to all of our community partners to assure them that our Federation will do everything to protect their institutions and our Jewish community,” according to the group.

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