Undermining established governments; Concerns are nationwide, and not just Jewish neighbors feel threatened

| December 28, 2023 | 0 Comments


Sometimes overlooked in the ongoing discussion of the battles and deaths following the savage Hamas terrorist attack into Israel on Oct. 7 is the movement to undermine established governments internationally. This actually was part of the local incident on Nov. 24 that occasioned this newspaper’s front-page story, “Jewish neighbors feeling threatened” [Dec. 2023].

The incident on that Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, started with a pro-Palestine rally in Pan Pacific Park that saw 200 demonstrators march through The Grove to disrupt shoppers and tenant merchants there before moving to the intersection of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, where many demonstrators sat in the street and shut down traffic for nearly an hour.

What is the connection — between interfering with Los Angeles shopkeepers and their employees and customers — and the dispute over Zionism and a small country in The Levant adjoining the Mediterranean Sea (a nation not even twice the size of Los Angeles County) — recognized as the State of Israel in 1948 — that is 7,500 miles away from Los Angeles and the merchants and stores at The Grove?

We shall return to that question later.

The December Larchmont Chronicle story did elicit some reader responses, both pro and con. Locally, from Hancock Park, one reader thanked us for publishing the story and wrote: “Let’s hope this madness ends as soon as possible so we can go back to enjoying our wonderful lives in our peaceful Hancock Park community.” Another Jewish writer said: “Our community feels truly heard.”

On the other side, we received three communications condemning our story, two from relatively far away. One writer, in Cleveland, Ohio, wrote the Chronicle a 500-word letter that was primarily a condemnation of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said of the Israeli government: “To push back this evil regime, rise and strike! Let no one continue to fear this man. Every Palestinian must be strong and fight on for their freedom. Rise and strike!”

Another writer, an ophthalmologist in Chicago, criticized our story as biased against Palestinians, writing that: “I … have lots of family and friends in the Los Angeles area [and] your recent article was highly biased against Palestinians and espouses a potentially dangerous environment for my family and friends in the Los Angeles area, who happen to all be Muslim and Palestinian.”

The third writer was local, from Koreatown, just east of Western Avenue, and she first telephoned and spoke with us at length. Like the Jewish man quoted by the Los Angeles Daily News and by the Chronicle in our original article — who said he took offense at the Nov. 24 demonstration held in a neighborhood with a large Jewish population, and requested anonymity for his comments — our pro-Palestine critic of that story also requested anonymity.

She subsequently sent us her views in writing, at our request:
“I was upset to see the one-sided and fear-mongering claims you put forth in your article. I remain astonished that a protest calling for a ceasefire, an end to bombing and killing, can be considered harmful to ANY group. And it is absolutely false to claim that there was any chanting about ‘killing Jews’ as you quoted in your article as these protests are seeking to bring an end to the misery being experienced in the Middle East.

“To conflate antisemitism with anti-Zionism is a false and dangerous comparison. With that article you did a disservice to those Jews, like Jewish Voice for Peace, Orthodox Jews Against Israel, and many descendants of Holocaust survivors, who have been marching alongside many in the U.S. to call for an end to the dehumanization and violence against the Palestinian people.”

The Larchmont Chronicle thanks all who called and wrote, but we do want to point out that a main theme of our original article was that the tensions are faced by both Jewish and Muslim Americans. This situation has been well documented in the daily media sources we cited. We listed the thoughtful Nov. 5 Orange County Register story on this subject: tinyurl.com/ytcdv26n. More recent commentary in that same vein is everywhere. The online San Francisco Standard described differences of views among not only Muslims and Jews but also among Jews on Dec. 19: tinyurl.com/2auj7wnm. The confrontations on college campuses have been the source of much reporting, and the rise of antisemitism in America continues to get major coverage. See, in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 15, the story by David Lauter and Jaweed Kaleem at: tinyurl.com/yhtkx5pt.

Oppressors and oppressed

But what does all this activity and dialogue concerning land in The Levant have to do with disrupting commerce at The Grove, 7,500 miles away?

It appears to be related to the worldwide rise of anti-capitalism that observers credit to the teachings at elite and other colleges. A good discussion of this underlying issue associated with many of the current anti-Israel demonstrations (such as ones organized by shutitdown4palestine.org — the group that influenced the Nov. 24 disruption at The Grove) and similar groups is in a Dec. 7 Los Angeles Times story by Jenny Jarvie, “U.S. college campuses have embraced the Palestinian cause like never before. The story began decades ago.”
See: tinyurl.com/ut4em6tr.

Jarvie writes in the lengthy story (with contributions by Jaweed Kaleem):

“But the story of how the Palestinian cause took off on campuses involves much more than academic theories.

“It’s a tale of careful planning by activists, dramatic political change in Israel and the rise of a U.S. social justice movement that homed in on race and other markers of identity and framed many of the world’s conflicts as a simple battle between two sides: the oppressors and the oppressed.”

Jarvie goes on to discuss how such views of life — the oppressors and the oppressed — are simplistic and cites UCLA political science professor and chair of Israel studies there, Dov Waxman. She writes that Professor Waxman “has always tried to challenge his students not to buy into simplified narratives about the Middle East.”

THE LEVANT circa 9th Century Before Common Era.
Image via Wikimedia Commons

The area in the accompanying map of The Levant is described by N.S. Gill (tinyurl.com/yv7dnh9w) as: “a geographic term that refers to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the nearby islands. Maps of the Levant don’t show an absolute boundary, because at no time in the past was it a single political unit. …

“The term is often used in reference to the ancient lands in the Old Testament of the Bible (Bronze Age): the kingdoms of Israel, Ammon, Moab, Judah, Edom, and Aram; and the Phoenician and Philistine states. …”

Today’s quagmire clearly goes back to the 9th century BCE and before. To repeat the comment of one of the Chronicle’s recent correspondents: “Let’s hope this madness ends as soon as possible so we can go back to enjoying our wonderful lives.”

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Category: News

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