Biden, California governor condemn violence during pro-Palestinian protest at Los Angeles synagogue

Biden said he was 'appalled' by the violent scenes outside the synagogue staff KABC logo
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Mayor Karen Bass condemns violence at Pico-Robertson synagogue
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass condemned the violence at a Pico-Robertson synagogue and outlined steps the city is taking to prevent additional incidents.

LOS ANGELES -- From the White House to Los Angeles City Hall, political and community leaders are condemning the violence that broke out at Southern California synagogue over the weekend during a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

President Joe Biden on Monday responded to the violence in a post on X, saying he was "appalled by the scenes" outside the synagogue in Los Angeles' Pico-Robertson neighborhood.

"Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American," Biden wrote. "Americans have a right to peaceful protest. But blocking access to a house of worship - and engaging in violence - is never acceptable."

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass on Monday condemned the violence and outlined a series of steps the city is taking to prevent additional incidents.

"The violence that happened in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood yesterday was abhorrent," Bass said. "Blocking access to a place of worship is absolutely unacceptable. What we witnessed was anti-Semitism in the heart of one of our Jewish communities."

Bass said she has called upon LAPD to provide extra patrols in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood as well as at other houses of worship throughout the city.

She said she is working with other faith leaders to develop strategies to prevent further violence. She is also working with state elected officials to provide more funding for security.

She also plans to look at issues such as how the city issues permits for protests, and the issue of masks worn at protests.

"Los Angeles will not stand for anti-Semitism," she added. "Los Angeles will not stand or tolerate violence. Know this: Those that are responsible for either will be found and held accountable."

Violent clashes broke out near the Adas Torah synagogue in the Pico-Robertson area as pro-Palestinian protesters encountered counter-protesters.

The clashes broke out as pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated in front of the Adas Torah synagogue on Sunday, reportedly blocking access to the house of worship.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Monday tying the demonstrations to events held at the synagogue promoting real estate purchases in disputed territories of Israel and the West Bank.

What started as heated verbal confrontations escalated into bloody fights. Videos posted to social media showed punches being thrown, people wrestled to the ground and kicked. Some social media posts indicated it started when pro-Palestinian protesters tried to prevent people from entering the synagogue.

Police in riot gear showed up in an attempt to restore order.

Violent clashes broke out in the Pico-Robertson area as pro-Palestinian protesters encountered counter-protesters.

The statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations sought to focus on the synagogue's role in hosting the real estate event.

"The demonstration in front of the Adas Torah synagogue over the weekend was in response to the blatant violations of both international law and human rights from agencies that seek to make a profit selling brutally stolen Palestinian land as the Israeli government continues its eight-month-long genocidal campaign and ethnic cleansing in Gaza," CAIR said. "The decision by Shaarey Zedek and Adas Torah synagogues to host events promoting racially segregated settlements, where only Jewish people are allowed to live, on illegally occupied Palestinian land is deplorable and antithetical to the morals that faith institutions should uphold."

The synagogue's rabbi called the violence a provocation and a violation.

"People were scared to come in, people were prevented from coming in. We had to sneak our members inside for prayers... Protesting like that is really a violation of a holy space," said Rabbi Dovid Revah.

Police are investigating two reported batteries and say one person was arrested for possession of a prohibited item: a "spiked flag."

Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote in a post on the social platform X that "the violent clashes outside the Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles are appalling. There is no excuse for targeting a house of worship. Such antisemitic hatred has no place in California."

The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles issued a statement saying its Community Security Initiative was "monitoring the situation and working with our local law enforcement partners to make sure our community are kept safe."

The initiative began in 2012 in an attempt to combat the rising threat of terrorism and works to protect every Jewish school, synagogue, summer camp and organization in Los Angeles County.