***CONTINUING EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE TO YESHIVA WORLD NEWS***
The outrageous behavior of Los Angeles officials continues to make headlines around the world. As first reported HERE, HERE, & HERE on Yeshiva World News, the incident has been picked up by the major media markets (NBC, AP, IsraelNN etc.). With Los Angeles officials’ quickly proclaiming ignorance and regret for the incident, it is four days after the incident and no one has been fired. No one has been suspended. No one has been admonished.
This is causing serious questions to be raised in Jewish communities around the world. ‘What is considered hateful to Los Angeles officials?’ ‘Does an apology suffice?’ Surprisingly the Los Angeles City Council is expected today (09/25/07) to approve a settlement in the amount of $1.5 Million dollars to a city firefighter that during an initiation rite was fed a spoonful of dog food. In that instance, numerous fire department command staff were reprimanded, reassigned, suspended and the Fire Chief was fired.
What Jews everywhere are asking themselves; “$1.5 Million Dollars for a spoon of dog food and a 2 page mea culpa for violating the very tenet of what this country was founded upon?” To add insult to injury, City of Los Angeles Dept. of Building and Safety are quoted in today’s LA Times saying “. . . Our intention was to simply go out and make an observation and leave. We had no intention of disrupting a service there.”
As this is being written, a team of lawyers, unassociated with Yavneh or its administration, are gathering written and recorded depositions from witnesses to the actions by official on Yom Kippur Night. In sworn testimony a picture of outrageous intimidation and fear tactics is emerging. “This was NOT ‘to simply go out and make an observation and leave” as falsely claimed by the city. These inspectors stormed their way past armed guards hired by the congregation for high holy-day security.
Members of the Los Angeles community with support by the international Jewish community are expressing a need for an independent investigation. An online petition (Click Here for Online Petition) has collected hundreds of signatures in the last 24 hours. The petition sponsored by a consortium of Jewish organization reads in part “We call upon the Department of Justice Civil Rights Criminal Section to investigate this blatant abuse of power by the City of Los Angeles and trampling on the constitutionally protected rights of its citizens.”
To give our readers a personalized account of the Los Angeles situation we present the comments made by a Los Angeles resident and Yeshiva World News reader (edited for publication):
(Online Moniker: Chesed Shel Emes)
As a Los Angeles resident, I can tell you that this was not an isolated action of one or two individuals or a “miscommunication”. This was a well planned act against the Jewish community.
A little background here.
There has been a 10 year battle between the Hancock Park Homeowners Association and local Jewish institutions. The HPHA, run by local WASPs (with a few self-hating Jews on board) mask their activities of anti-Semitism by saying that they just wish to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood.
Here is the integrity that they wish to preserve. The deed of my house in Hancock Park, dated in 1922, reads that the house cannot be sold to “Negroes, Indians or Jews”. This is the integrity that the HPHA wishes to preserve…a judenrhein neighborhood.
The HPHA is well funded and well connected. Their head is the president of the Los Angeles Planning Commission. They have many wealthy members who have outwardly expressed antagonism towards orthodox Jews.
The local city councilman, Tom LaBonge, is well supported by the HPHA. He has given more grief to local Jewish Institutions than any other city councilmember in Los Angeles history. When the outrage over this incident became apparent, LaBonge self-servingly expressed that he knew nothing about it in advance and (like O.J. Simpson) would find out who was responsible for this action.
The above comments are correct. In any other ethnic setting, this would have been front page news. Heads would be rolling, and so would cameras. But, alas, it’s only about Jews.
It is up to us to make this front page news. I can assure you that in a couple of days, when we are all engrossed in our Sukka Holiday, the city will find a couple of low level scapegoats and declare that the matter is over.
We cannot allow this to happen! LaBonge and his supporters have pulled off events like this in the past. This time it caught up with them. Outrage, in the form of e-mails, phone calls and letters should pour into LaBonge’s office, letting him know that Jews around the country are watching his every move. He will still be an anti-Semite, just a less outspoken one.
Mayor Villaraigosa needs to know that the united Jewish community will not be satisfied with weak apologies. Firm action and future assurances that Jewish institutions may operate without fear are needed.
Furthermore, I would like to set the record straight regarding Councilman Tom LaBonge.
LaBonge is a raging anti-Semite. He has been at the throats of all local Jewish institutions in an attempt to cause them as much grief as he can.
I would not believe one word of his denial that “Neither I nor any member of my staff had any knowledge…”. LaBonge’s main supporters are the Hancock Park Homeowners Association who have fought tooth and nail for years against Yavneh and other instittions. Mayor Villaraigosa has no ax to grind against the Jewish community, and thus has a more sympathetic ear to this issue.
I believe that LaBonge needs to hear from the Jewish community at large in very strong terms. He will certainly not begin to love Jews, but like any anti-Semite, he will tone down his rhetoric once he sees that he stands to lose something by his outspokenness against the local mosdos.
I would recommend strongly worded e-mails and phone calls to his office acknowledging the broader Jewish community’s recognition of his previous anti-Jewish stances on issues. Indeed, I would question his statement that he “knew nothing”. He has known everything about every previous anti-Jewish movement in the neighborhood.
The Los Angeles Jewish community appreciates your support in this matter. We really do. A show of achdus at this time is important. A gut kvittel to all.
Councilman Tom LaBonge: Phone 213-473-7004.
e-mail: [email protected]
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street, Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Email: [email protected]