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Los Angeles mayor failed to protect Jews amid ‘pogrom’ at shul, critics say

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(JNS) Early Sunday morning, The Los Angeles Times dubbed Karen Bass “mayor of the city of the eternal future” in a profile in its “L.A. Influential” section that spoke of “Los Angeles’s first female and second black mayor” as “instantly hyper-alert, composed and commanding,” and a “pragmatic leader.”

Bass made “good on a campaign pledge to push a fractious patchwork of government actors toward something resembling coordination” and “commands respect with an outstretched hand instead of a clenched fist,” the Times reported.

Hours later, as clenched fists had targeted Jews in what many called a “pogrom” outside Adas Torah, an Orthodox synagogue in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, many were asking where Bass was and why police weren’t protecting Jews.

“Pro-Hamas and Hezbollah extremists violently attacked American Jews in Los Angeles and the politicians ordered the police to do nothing to defend them,” wrote Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Radical leftists and Islamists are ruining our country.”‘

Noah Pollak, a political consultant and writer, wrote that he was at the synagogue for an event on Sunday.

“The Los Angeles Police Department let the Hamas supporters take over the sidewalk in front of the shul and block its entrance. In fact, LAPD had formed a cordon around the front of the shul to keep Jews out and Hamas supporters in,” Pollak wrote.

He added that he and his children tried to enter via the front door but were “turned away not by Hamas supporters but by the LAPD. Anyone who wanted to attend had to use a secret back entrance.”


Pollak called the mayor and the LAPD “an absolute disgrace—it’s clear the police have been instructed to help the Democratic Party street animals do their thuggery. They were definitely not there to protect the right of Jews to enter their shul.”

Hours after the violence outside the synagogue, Bass stated that “today’s violence in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood today was abhorrent, and blocking access to a place of worship is unacceptable.”

“I’ve called on LAPD to provide additional patrols in the Pico-Robertson community as well as outside of houses of worship throughout the city,” the mayor wrote. “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.”

Although critics noted that the mayor referred to “houses of worship” rather than to Jews being targeted at a synagogue, a senior vice president at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles thanked Bass for her “unequivocal denunciation of the antisemitism we witnessed in our city today.”

JNS sought comment from the mayor.

“On June 23, 2024, at 10:52 a.m., officers responded to a large protest in West L.A. Division. A dispersal order was issued,” Drake Madison, an officer in the LAPD media relations division told JNS.

“One suspect was arrested for 55.07 LAMC-possession of a prohibited item at a protest (spiked flag),” the officer said. “The suspect was issued a RFC (citation) at West L.A. Station and subsequently released. There is no further information.”

‘This discrimination demands a response’

Israeli special envoy for combating antisemitism Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Disturbed frontman David Draiman and Independent Women’s Forum senior fellow Ellie Cohanim were among those who called the violence a pogrom.

“Local Jewish leaders report that the LAPD was told to ‘stand down,’” Cohanim wrote. “This discrimination by authorities demands a response.”

“Our streets are already unsafe thanks to Mayor Karen Bass,” wrote the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. “Let the police combat and quash this pro-Hamas violence before we drown in another ‘Summer of Love.’”

“If going to a predominantly Jewish neighborhood to harass and intimidate Jewish people at a synagogue is not antisemitism, what is?” wrote Rick Chavez Zbur, a California state representative and a Democrat. “This is hate unleashed and every community leader should be forcefully speaking out. Enough is enough.”

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