Bass, civic leaders outline response to violent synagogue protest

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Politicians are joining leaders of Los Angeles’ Jewish community in condemning the actions of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who they say blocked access to a synagogue on Sunday, resulting in fistfights.

The violence erupted outside Adas Torah in L.A.’s heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson neighborhood.

Witnesses say the protestors, who oppose Israel’s military response to the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack on civilians – blocked congregants from entering the synagogue, leading to skirmishes that left some people bloodied. Police eventually formed a skirmish line and brought the situation under control. One person was arrested.

Adas Torah says some members of the community were “maced and bear sprayed” by demonstrators.

“[Sunday’s] violence in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood was abhorrent, and blocking access to a place of worship is unacceptable,” said L.A. Mayor Karen Bass. “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.”

Bass said LAPD had increased patrols in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood and outside other houses of worship.

Bass announced several other components of the city’s response at a Monday afternoon news conference at the Museum of Tolerance where she was joined by other elected officials, LAPD Chief Dominic Choi, and Jewish community representatives.

Bass said local and state leaders would seek tens of millions of dollars in security grants for non-profits. Officials would also examine the common tactic of protesters wearing masks to conceal their identities and the permitting process for demonstrations.

On Monday, President Joe Biden also condemned the demonstration as antisemitic.

“I’m appalled by the scenes outside of Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles,” Biden said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American.”

Sunday’s incident was the worst violence surrounding the Israel-Hamas war in L.A. since April 30, when pro-Israel demonstrators attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus of UCLA.

Read More: Bass, civic leaders outline response to violent synagogue protest

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