Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the federal building in Westwood on Tuesday to show their support for Israel after the bloody incursion on Israeli soil by the militant group Hamas over the weekend.
The rally, which was sponsored by StandWithUs, comes on the heels of a news conference held today at Los Angeles City Hall where councilmembers and leaders of the Jewish community stood side by side, describing the war as “ethnic and religious violence” and an “attack on democracy everywhere.”
The surprise attack by Hamas by air, land and sea killed hundreds of Israeli citizens and soldiers, prompting Israel’s leaders to declare war and retaliate, bombarding the Palestinian territory of Gaza. The toll stands at some 1,800 dead on both sides, but that number is expected to grow.
L.A. is home to the second largest Jewish community in the United States and the largest Israeli population outside of Israel.
“It’s very possible that if you talk to a Jewish community member here in L.A., they do either have a relative or a close friend that is suffering right now. God forbid, that might be a death. That might be being called up now to serve in the Israeli Army Reserves or it might be hiding in a bomb shelter,” Rachel Wallace with the Greater Jewish Federation of L.A. told KTLA 5.
Earlier this afternoon, L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield joined colleagues and Jewish leaders at the podium to show solidarity with Israel.
“This weekend we saw the largest killing of Jews since the Holocaust. For those with friends and family living in Israel, the pain is profound, and it is personal,” the councilman said. “We are seeing the unprovoked, deliberate killing of civilian Jews, men, women and children – slaughtering people at a peace concert, raping and slaying families indiscriminately, hurling more than 3,000 rockets with no military objective other than to maim and kill innocent people, burning a child alive and posting it on social media.”
City leaders stressed that they are doing everything they can and are working with multiple law enforcement agencies to protect the Jewish community in Southern California.