Democrats for Israel - Los Angeles

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  • 27 Feb 2024 9:16 PM | Anonymous

    DFI-LA's David Alpern and Mihran Kalaydjian penned an op-ed: How to Get a Palestine State? Stop Hating the Jews - https://www.citywatchla.com/world-watch/28512-how-to-get-a-palestine-state-stop-hating-the-jews


  • 1 Feb 2024 12:07 PM | Anonymous

    The local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America censured council member, Nithya Raman, for seeking the backing of Democrats for Israel Los Angeles. DSA also voted to retain its own endorsement of Raman, infuriating some of the organization’s members and laying bare the bizarre political pretzeling involved when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is injected into local races. Read: https://forward.com/news/578358/nithya-raman-dsa-censure-dfi-endorsement

  • 26 Jan 2024 3:09 PM | Anonymous

    DFI-LA's David Alpern and Mihran Kalaydjian penned an op-ed: Like Hamas, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Reign Also Must End ASAP


    https://www.citywatchla.com/important-reads/28314-like-hamas-benjamin-netanyahus-reign-also-must-end-asap

  • 4 Jan 2024 2:13 PM | Anonymous


    Jewish Caucus letter sent January 3, 2024 to all members of the California State Legislature asking for "support and solidarity at an unprecedented moment of pain and fear for our Jewish community. Recent events, including Hamas’s horrific October 7 massacre, the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the glorification of violence and sexual assault against Jews, calls for the annihilation of Israel, and the extreme escalation of antisemitism in the United States and around the world have left our community reeling. According to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), since October 7 there have been more than 200 bomb threats against Jewish institutions in California. We cannot recall another time in recent history when Jews in California felt as targeted, threatened, and unsafe as they do now. At this moment, the work our Legislative Jewish Caucus has been doing in close partnership with Jewish community organizations feels existential."

    California Legislative Jewish Caucus Dear Colleague Letter 2024 01 03.pdf

  • 7 Oct 2023 12:51 PM | Anonymous


    10/7/2023 - Like the many organizations in the Jewish and non-Jewish world across our nation, Democrats for Israel Los Angeles, alongside the many affiliated DFI groups across the state of California, condemns the Saturday morning surprise attack by the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza on Israel.

    The brutality of Iranian-supported Hamas terrorists is being documented in real time. Women and children beaten and then taken hostage. Kibbutz residents who have worked for peace with the Palestinians for their entire lives butchered by terrorists. Thousands of rockets launched deliberately at Israeli cities, villages and kibbutz have killed Israeli children, women and men and injured hundreds, while Hamas terrorists on the ground have killed hundreds more.

    DFI-LA condemns this senseless and unprovoked attack on Israel and its citizens and calls on all members of the Democratic Party and all Americans to rally in support of Israel, as President Biden and his administration have already done.

    There will be time for investigations about how just such an attack by Hamas was planned and implemented, catching the Israeli security apparatus by surprise, just as there will be plenty of time for political and military analysts to determine just how much the unrest in the West Bank contributed to this situation. But for now, it is time for Americans to rally behind Israel, the only democracy in the region, in opposition to the terrorism of Hamas and Iran’s other allies in the region, notably and potentially, Hezbollah in Lebanon.


  • 13 Mar 2023 4:56 PM | Anonymous


    We stand in solidarity with the pro-democracy opposition in Israel, against the policies of the extremist coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu

    March 13, 2023

    As Democrats, we are greatly alarmed by the potential harms to Israeli society by Israel’s new governing coalition, the most right-wing in its history.

    The values of the California Democratic Party (CDP) are clear. The CDP’s 2022 Platform states its support for Israel’s future as a secure democratic Jewish state and provides Israelis and Palestinians the right to live with independence, sovereignty, and dignity within their own viable states free from persecution, terror, or incitement.

    Consistent with our values and those of the Democratic Party, we continue to support the right of Israel to live securely as a Jewish and democratic state, as it has since 1948.  

    As we have seen in the rise of other right-wing nationalist governments in Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Italy, the recent elections in Israel have veered the country sharply to the right and away from the democratic principles espoused by its founders — principles that have placed the Jewish state among other western democratic nations.

    When Donald Trump was elected President, millions of Americans mobilized to oppose his policies, but they did not advocate for the end of the United States. They mobilized because they loved their country. As American Jews, we are not citizens of Israel, but we recognize that Jewish identity remains intertwined with Israel’s existence.

    Criticism of harmful Israeli policy that bears on its democratic character is appropriate as long as it does not embrace antisemitism or seek to delegitimize Israel’s existence. The way to support Israel and its democratic values is to stand with the more than 200,000 Israelis  regularly coming out to protest the current government's attempts to undermine its democratic principles. Indeed, as Democrats and as Zionists, we express great alarm at the current government’s proposed policies  and stand in solidarity with Israelis of all religions and orientations who seek to protect a democratic Israel.

    We stand in solidarity with a democratic Israel because the current far-right government is advancing a proposal to eliminate independent judicial oversight, which would enable members of the government to refuse to comply with the law whenever they choose. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is standing trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust while leading a campaign to destroy the very judicial system responsible for his criminal prosecution, dismantling the separation of powers, eroding the independence of Israel's judges and giving politicians unfettered control.

    To accomplish this requires extremist alliances. Enter Itamar Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich and others, who seemingly have no qualms about dismantling Israeli democracy, disregarding the rights of the LGBTQ community, women, secular Israelis, Reform and Conservative Jews, and other minority groups.  This extremist coalition government is ignoring the concerns of the millions in Israel who oppose this anti-democratic judicial overhaul, and members of this extremist coalition government have refused to slow the process and sit down and negotiate reforms that would be acceptable to the vast majority of the Israeli public.

    Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the Palestinian village of Huwara to be wiped out because a terrorist shot and killed Israelis at a settlement nearby. Shortly thereafter, a mob of settlers attacked and torched the town. Further, another member of the coalition government objected to the arrest of Israeli settlers who are connected with the attack. Ben-Gvir has been convicted of incitement to terrorism on multiple occasions. He is a follower of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of Kahanism: a violent, extremist ideology that advocates for and has inspired acts of terror. He and his disciples were rightly banned from Israel's legislature  in 1988 on the grounds that their ideology is “racist and undemocratic.” As recently as November 2022, Ben-Gvir attended a commemoration ceremony for Meir Kahane.

    We stand in solidarity with a democratic Israel because Israel’s ruling coalition seems bent on imposing radical change to Israel’s political system. We Democrats in the United States have witnessed how a rightward shift of the Supreme Court has impacted the rights of immigrants, expanded Title 42, and reversed Roe v. Wade. A majority of our U.S. Supreme Court Justices have also signaled a readiness to challenge voting rights, election law, and affirmative action. The erosion of minority protections in our own country is deepening and, as noted by Israeli legal experts, the proposed dismantling of the checks and balances of an independent Israeli judiciary would have a similar effect. Democracy is not the power of a temporary, thin legislative majority to permanently —without recourse — oppress and remove the rights of its citizens. We cannot stand by quietly as democratic protections are eroded in both Israel and the United States. 

    We stand in solidarity because we are concerned for the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people, who desire their own viable, independent state living in peace next to Israel. We are particularly concerned with a guiding principle of the new coalition, which seeks to greenlight unilateral annexation, making a two-state solution virtually impossible and making the establishment of a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians equally impossible. Worse, the goals of this coalition government would normalize a unilateral form of Jewish hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, creating no options for consenting Palestinians to retain basic human rights of self-determination and taking away the option of their own state. The ruling coalition is in contravention of the national Democratic Party platform, which expressly supports a two-state solution and opposes unilateral actions by either party—whether it be Israelis imposing a single state via annexation or Palestinians attempting to force Israelis into a single-majority Palestinian state through an international campaign of delegitimization and a wildly overbroad interpretation of right of return laws.

    As Democrats, we stand in solidarity with those seeking a democratic Israel by standing in opposition to the extreme proposals of Israel’s current coalition government, which are in stark contrast to our party platform and the values enshrined in Israel’s founding Declaration of Independence. Israelis are raising a clear and broad voice to oppose these proposed policies. These voices cannot be ignored.

    We stand with the will of the Israeli people to find solutions that benefit all Israelis, protect democracy, and work for a sustainable peace.

          Democrats for Israel California, a council of Jewish Democratic clubs
          Progressive Zionists of California
          Democrats for Israel Los Angeles
          Jewish Democratic Club of Silicon Valley
          Jewish Democratic Club of Solano County

    ####

  • 13 Feb 2023 5:52 PM | Anonymous


    DFI-LA's Mihran Kalaydjian and David Alpern published a look at the shared values that lead both Israel and American to frequently extend a helping hand to those afflicted anywhere, anytime, by a natural disaster.

    https://citywatchla.com/index.php/cw/world-watch/26452-shared-values-america-and-israel-rush-to-provide-aid-wherever-and-whenever-needed

    and...

    https://www.publishedreporter.com/2023/02/12/op-ed-shared-values-helping-nations-why-two-nations-rush-to-provide-aid-wherever-and-whenever-needed

    America and Israel’s shared values spur each of them to quickly respond when a global crisis happens due to a natural disaster. For Israel it is rooted in the Jewish concept of being responsible for providing Tikkun Olam (heal the world) derived from one of the noblest precepts found in the Mishnah (in Sanhedrin) as well as other Talmudic-period texts that convey how “Whoever Saves a Life Saves the World”. America is the only country ever founded on Judeo-Christian values, where Judaic values are factored into the DNA of the nation alongside Christian values. The balance of Western democracies are founded strictly on Christian values. As such, America and Israel are the only two countries in the history of civilization who have incorporate Jewish values into their DNA and worldview, which in this case translates into being a resource to all corners of the globe when tragedy strikes.

  • 7 Feb 2023 12:06 PM | Anonymous


    Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) quickly sent a humanitarian aid delegation to Turkey on the heels of the deadly 7.8 earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday morning (2/6/2023) killing tens of thousands and injuring thousands more.

    The Israel Defense Forces sent a humanitarian aid delegation to Turkey to assist in the disaster relief effort - including helping extricate the thousands who remained trapped beneath rubble. "Olive Branches" is a joint mission together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense to lend their expertise in searching for survivors and treating wounded victims. Israel also sent supplies to Syria, despite officially being in a declared state of war.

  • 2 Feb 2023 7:04 PM | Anonymous


    By MIHRAN KALAYDJIAN - GREGG SOLKOVITS (published FEB 1, 2023)
    https://citywatchla.com/index.php/cw/important-reads/26395-why-so-many-jewish-organizations-support-ethnic-studies

    Why So Many Jewish Organizations Support Ethnic Studies

    EDUCATION - As members of the Community in Los Angeles, we are often asked why our organization supported the passage of state legislation requiring Ethnic Studies as a high school graduation requirement. 

    The answer is an easy one. It was the right thing to do at the time, and it is the right thing for our high school students today. In a state where many if not most school districts have a majority of their students coming from historically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities, we supported (and still support) requiring high school students to have the opportunity to learn about THEIR history. The legislation as passed by the State Legislature, and the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum adopted by the State Board of Education as a result of the law, focuses on four ethnic groups in California – African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native Americans. The model curriculum adopted by the SBE seeks to educate students about the history and culture of these four groups, but to do so in a straightforward, objective manner, with school districts free to add courses on the history and culture of other ethnic groups with significant populations within their boundaries. The State Board of Education was quite clear in its Model Curriculum – the courses were to be taught by teachers to inform students, rather than proselytize one perspective or another, depending on the teacher’s point of view. 

    Of course, we are living in highly politicized times, and public education has strangely become a political battlefield. Many on both sides of the political spectrum have chosen to mischaracterize what the Ethnic Studies courses required by the legislation are, and what they should be. 

    From the right wing, we have pundits stating with great alarm that California schools will be teaching anti-American curriculum that seeks to paint our Founding Fathers and the history of our nation in negative brush strokes in an attempt to turn students against “the American Way”. Those critics are quick to accuse advocates of Ethnic Studies of injecting Critical Race Theory – a widely accepted approach in college curriculum that sees the racism and white supremacy that was so prevalent in the first century of the United States as the foundation for so many of the societal ills that our nation faces today – into our K-12 schools. 

    Those on the left criticize the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum because it did not incorporate rhetoric that puts the blame for today’s racial and economic problems entirely on the exploitation of colonies by the colonizing nations of the 17th and 18th centuries. Some on the left also pushed to include rhetoric that was explicitly anti-Israel and arguably antisemitic into the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum – essentially labeling Jews who supported the return of Jews to their ancestral homeland of Israel as “colonizers”. This approach was rejected by the State Board of Education for a variety of reasons, including having little or nothing to do with the four “core” ethnic groups to be focused on, for use of inflammatory rhetoric, and a bevy of other reasons. Indeed, the SBE rejected the first draft of model curriculum for these and other reasons. 

    As we write this article, the LAUSD is moving forward with the development of a wide variety of courses that meet the high school graduation requirement adopted by the California Legislature, although it should be pointed out that the LAUSD moved to make Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement in 2014, well before the state legislature took action. In concert with a number of Los Angeles area Jewish organizations and advocates in Los Angeles is working with the school district’s Division of Instruction to ensure that new Ethnic Studies courses meet the LAUSD policy requiring curriculum to taught in a manner that emphasizes critical thinking skills rather than being taught from a particular political point of view. Furthermore, we have made it clear to the district that curriculum should be developed in a transparent and inclusive process. 

    Ethnic Studies is an important addition to the LAUSD and state of California’s list of high school graduation requirements. It is vital that courses that are adopted to meet that requirement meet the highest standards of rigor and objectivity. We applaud the LAUSD’s commitment to work with the community and look forward with enthusiasm to the expansion of ethnic studies course offerings.

    (Mihran Kalaydjian is a consummate leading member of the community and a devoted activist. He has spearheaded numerous educational initiatives.) 

    (Gregg Solkovits is President of Democrats for Israel – Los Angeles and is a 36+ year Social Studies and English teacher.)



  • 28 Jan 2023 4:35 PM | Anonymous


    DFI LA President Gregg Solkovits, DFI LA Vice President Michelle Elmer and DFI LA Executive Board member Mihran Kalaydjian attended the local district swearing in ceremony of California State Senate District 20 Senator Caroline Menjivar, (D-Northeast San Fernando Valley) on Saturday, January 28.


    DFI-LA with Jesse Gabriel


    DFI-LA with Caroline Menjivar


    DFI-LA with Pilar Schiavo


    DFI-LA with Adrin Nazarian

    Held at the Monteverde Ranch in Sylmar, numerous elected officials and community members were present to see Menjivar be sworn in by State Senator Maria Elena Durazo. DFI LA gave a Support position in the election, which was held last November (2022).

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