May 24, 2021
Around 1,000 people attended a rally in front of the Federal Building in Westwood to protest the recent spike in antisemitic incidents worldwide and show support for Israel.
Headlining the speakers at the rally was Elan Carr, the former Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Carr, who served during the Iraq War, explained that when a rocket is fired at you, you’ll be lucky to hear a warning siren before “the ground under your feet heaves with an explosion so terrific that the air is knocked out of your lungs and you realize at the moment that but for chance, that could have fallen a little bit closer to you.”
Carr pointed out that he was paid to serve in a war zone, whereas Israeli children are not. “They do not deserve to be subject to 3,000 instances of attempted murder. Anybody who refuses to stand unequivocally with the state of Israel is committing a moral outrage. This is not the time for relativism or equivocation or weakness.”
He added that the recent increase in antisemitic incidents proves that hatred of Israel equates to hatred of the Jewish people at large, saying that United States cities are turning into “the worst of Paris and Brussels.” Carr also said that antisemitism is a threat to everybody, not just Jews. “It undermines the very values that which the United States was built and it is at war with civilization itself. That’s why every antisemitic movement has left humanity in ruin.”
“So when we are here to fight antisemitism, we are fighting for America and we are fighting for decency and we are fighting for that better world that each of us seeks to give to our children.”
StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein followed Carr, saying that her mother, a Holocaust survivor, would be displeased that Rothstein felt the need to “overdo” the security presence at the rally and that she needed her own private security guard at the rally. “This is not normal.” She argued that the “ignorant” are getting information from “Hamas supporters” and urged attendees to “raise the level of information.”
“Hamas has a mission statement, Hamas has a charter – they want to destroy the state of Israel,” Rothstein said. “Simplify your message everybody.”
Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Lilli Bosse also spoke at the rally, where she said that she “wouldn’t be here without Israel,” as her parents met in Israel after World War II to “find hope.” “I keep thinking of my mom, a Holocaust survivor, if she was alive today, what she would say if she saw what we’ve been seeing.” She added that friends of hers have said they want to remove their mezuzahs because they are afraid.
“I’m a proud Jew, and I will never have fear to be a proud Jew,” Bosse said, declaring that “the message is loud and clear: don’t mess with home, don’t mess with family, because hate will never win.”
American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director Richard S. Hirschhaut said at the rally that Israelis have to deal with rockets, while Los Angeles restaurant patrons have to deal with “projectiles and bottles” and that this “is unacceptable in Los Angeles.”
He lauded the fact that a suspect behind the May 19 assault of two Jewish men was arrested. “Not withstanding whatever our district attorney might believe otherwise, there will be hate crime prosecutions here in Los Angeles.”
California State Senator Henry Stern, a Democrat, was scheduled to speak at the rally but didn’t after being held up with some fires in his district. However, he did share his planned remarks to the Journal, explaining that the word “Shalom” means more than just “peace”; it means “living with diversity and doing work to actually build and integrate diversity.” “What Israel represents is commitment to integrated diversity and that’s something to never be ashamed of… the shame that people are pushing onto us right now, needs this kind of response, of just relentless positivity in a city as diverse as LA. We cannot be afraid to be Jews in LA.”
Stern lauded the “positive joyous feeling” at the rally in response to the recent antisemitic incidents. “There’s pride here today.”
Other speakers at the rally included Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe and City Controller Ron Galperin.
Read the article here.