July, 2024, Dr. Susanna Kokkonen –

A violent attack took place right by a Los Angeles synagogue over eight months after the October 7, 2023, horrific surprise attack by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians. Pro-Palestinian occupations have taken place in many universities, but the blocking of the LA synagogue took the public as well as the LAPD by surprise.

As protesters blocked access to the house of worship, people tried to make their way to the synagogue. Verbal attacks escalated to violence. It should be remembered that pro-Palestinian demonstrators have initiated violent confrontations all over the world.

President Joe Biden as well as L.A. Mayor Karen Bass condemned the violence. LAPD has admitted its unpreparedness for the level of violence. Subsequently, the FBI is investigating the events. Mayor Bass suggested examining a possible ban on masks in demonstrations.

Meanwhile various justifications for the violence have been given mainly in social media where the synagogue has been accused of hosting an event which would have been a cause for this kind of violence.

Rabbi Noah Farkas, head of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, said in the Jewish News of Northern California: “This is a moment that we have been almost slouching towards for a couple years now…As we’ve said before many times, hate speech, hate incidences, they lead to hate crimes.”

The Holocaust Remembrance Association fully agrees with the view that the general atmosphere in American society has turned into a dangerous direction. For instance, demonstrations and even violence at colleges campuses were tolerated, allowing for antisemitism and expressions of hatred to grow.

The Holocaust Remembrance Association sees blocking entrance to a house of worship as unacceptable.  This development is a serious threat to religious liberty, freedom of movement, and even to personal security of Jewish worshippers.

The Holocaust Remembrance Association rejects and condemns the hateful rhetoric of the demonstrations but also that in social media, including in posts related to this incident.

The Holocaust Remembrance Association does not accept accusing the victims of having caused the violence. There is no justification for blocking an entrance to a house of worship, then attacking congregants.

The Holocaust Remembrance Association calls for its supporters and friends to take a clear stand against the antisemitic hatred that is spreading in society.

The Holocaust Remembrance Association exists to remember, reconcile, and take a stand against antisemitism in all its forms.