NEWS

DFI-LA Praises Decision to Redesign Ethnic Studies Curriculum to Include Jewish, Other Perspectives

August 13, 2019

What's this item about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...Democrats for Israel Los Angeles praised the announcement that the California Instructional Quality Commission has been directed by the California Board of Education to redesign the proposed Ethnic Studies curriculum to broaden its inclusion.  DFI-LA and other groups brought up concerns that the model curriculum mainstreamed the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement, and also fail to include combating Anti-Semitism, Jews in general and the experiences of major non-Arab cultures in the Middle East such as Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews, Druze, Turkish, Kurdish, Yazidi and other minorities.   

DFI-LA has several experienced educators as members, and along with many other groups, including the California Jewish Legislative Caucus, supported the legislature's efforts to bring about an ethnic studies curriculum so that the role and experience of minority voices can be made a part of our K-12 education program. However, these groups also called for changes to a plan that legitimized the anti-Semitic aspects of the BDS movement and denied or ignored the existence or role of other cultures, especially Jewish ones, in the region. 

Sample topics included in the plan include "Palestinian-Mexican border studies comparisons," the role of the BDS movement and the historical role of only Arab-peninsula cultures in the ethnic studies program.  There are multiple overlapping narratives regarding the Middle East, and choosing only one does not help foster understanding, it exacerbates intolerance by delegitimizing or ignoring the diversity of the region.

In response to the outcry, the Calfornia Board of Education released a press release, calling for the ethnic studies curriculum to be redesigned, stating 

"Ethnic studies can be an important tool to improve school climate and increase our understanding of one another. A model curriculum should be accurate, free of bias, appropriate for all learners in our diverse state, and align with Governor Newsom’s vision of a California for all. The current draft model curriculum falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned."

There is still time to offer your own comment before the first August 15 deadline (the curriculim will be redesigned after that) Democrats for Israel urges its members as well to contribute their own comments to ethnicstudies@cde.ca.gov

DFI-LA Response to Trump Claim that Jews who vote Democrat are "Disloyal"

August 20, 2019

  • "You had some very fine people on both sides [in Charlottesville]" - President Trump

  • Trump Administration Allows South Carolina Adoption Agency to Discriminate Against Jews

  • White Nationalists shooters in Poway and Pittsburg cite Trump rhetoric as inspiration

 

President Trump can't figure out why the Jews won't vote for him, calling our community "disloyal or ill-informed," as if none of the above things ever happened.

Over the last thirty years, Jewish support for Democrats has generally remained the same, hovering between 70 and 79% because the Democratic Party reflects our values.  Democrats support policies that create opportunity for every person regardless of where they come from, their religion or economic status.  Democratic policies preserve our environment for future generations, make sure that the stranger is welcome and that justice is served for everyone.  

Republicans don't and Donald Trump certainly doesn't.

Yet he questions our loyalty and thinks that because he supports an Israeli Prime Minister who is unpopular with 58% of American Jews according to polls from Gallup and Pew Research.  These same polls show that 92% of American Jews support Israel, but that means supporting all of Israel, not just one leader, one party,  or coalition there. Questioning our loyalty as was done by some of the very politicians he criticized for doing the same thing does not bolster their argument   Further, Anti-Israel policies and Anti-Semitism comes from both parties, current and past Republicans such as Steve King, Thomas Massie, Ron Paul (and his son Rand Paul), Ray LaHood and Charles Taylor voted against aid to Israel and made statements against the Jewish community as often as many of the Democrats that Trump likes to excoriate. 

Support for Israel should remain a bipartisan issue and we should all fight to keep it this way. Turning Israel into a partisan matter endangers Israeli security in the long term.  As Speaker Pelosi pointed out, "We have a deep relationship and long-standing relationship with Israel that can withstand Donald Trump...we cannot let their weaknesses stand in the way of our ongoing relationship."

Just as Israel should not be a political football, American Jews are not a political football either.  You either represent our values or you don't. 

Neither pandering to the most extreme elements in Israel and the U.S. nor random rhetorical lobs at people who are critical of our community while simultaneously cozying up to others will change the American Jewish community's fundamental commitment to human decency and justice.

Our loyalty is to the values that make us both Jews and Americans.  That is why 79% of Democrats voted for the Democratic candidate for President in 2018 and why we will show overwhelming support for whoever the Democrat will be in 2020.

DFI-LA, AIPAC break with Israel on Israel's Giving In to Trump Pressure on Tlaib, Omar Trip to Israel

August 16, 2019

What's this Democrats for Israel, the only Jewish and Pro-Israel Democratic Club in Los Angeles, joined AIPAC, J-Street and numerous other Pro-Israel groups in disagreement with the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu to reverse its previous decision to allow Congressmembers Rashida Tlaib and Ihlan Omar to enter Israel.

Israel had previously planned to allow the two Israel critics (Omar has been a critic of Israel and Tlaib reversed her support for a two state solution shortly after her election) to visit Israel after 41 other Congressional Freshman completed their meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but reversed the decision after public pressure from President Trump.

AIPAC released a statement disagreeing with the decision via Twitter:

We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.

Numerous other organizations, including J-Street, AJC, ADL and a number of Pro-Israel elected officials from both sides of the aisle including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), opposed the move.

Democrats for Israel joins these organizations in disagreeing with the decision to cave to pressure from the President of the United States on this issue. 

Many Republicans have insisted that the U.S. should not pressure Israel on security decisions (despite a long history of doing so by Republican and Democratic Presidents including Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and both Bush Presidents). However, in this case, the Israeli security apparatus had already made clear that even though the trip was a one-sided trip with no meetings with any Israeli officials by two Israel critics/BDS supporters, visiting Israel and the West Bank would still show Israel's strength as a vibrant democracy without threatening its security.  It would also show respect to existing protocols with U.S. elected officials, even those who have been hostile to Israel (Darrell Issa, Nick Rahall and Dana Rohrbacher, all Israel critics, have visited Israel). 

Instead, the government chose to put political pressure above security, which only serves to embolden critics of Israel who falsely claim that Israel is not a democracy that protects freedom of speech or dissent.  Democracies have flaws, which are also part of what makes them stronger in the long term.  Strong democracies let their vibrancy outshine their critics. 

We do not ascribe to Rep. Omar's views on BDS and strongly oppose Rep. Tlaib's positions on BDS, Israel's right to exist and her opposition to two states living in peace next to each other nor are we under the illusion that this trip, if it had happened would have been anything other than biased.  However, we believe that, even in this tough situation, the decision to give in to political pressure and defy decades of political protocols with members of Congress was the wrong decision for Israel.item about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...

DFI-LA Post Convention Round-Up - CDP Rejects Anti-Israel Push

June 02, 2019

The California Democratic Party rejected anti-Israel language and removed broad exceptions for defining Anti-Semitism from resolutions proposed by Jewish Voices for Peace and BDS activists to the CDP Resolutions Committee, The committee chose to replace inflammatory language with language focusing on broader accountability from both Israel and the Palestinians in seeking peace and encouraging officials to spend substantial time getting to learn about the complex issues facing the region from all sides. 

The CDP also refused Jewish Voices for Peace requests to oppose H.Res.246 condemning the BDS movement and H.R. 1838, the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act (led by Congressman Ted Lieu).  The legislative committee of the CDP is supposed to focus on legislation for issues the party can help solve like homelessness, health care and climate change.

A broad coalition of Jewish organizations worked with DFI-LA to mobilize, including Progressive Zionists of California, Democratic Majority for Israel, Jewish Democratic Council of America, the California Jewish Legislative Caucus, JPAC, the ADL and AJC.

Democrats for Israel Statement on Israel Elections

April 16, 2019

Last week Israelis went to the polls to vote to elect members of the Knesset for the 21st time.  Like American democracies, we saw both broad participation, but also some disturbing efforts from the right that have mirrored Republican tactics in the US, including minority voter intimidation (such as placing 1300 cameras in polling places, much like the Orange County Republican Party placed private security guards at majority Latino polling places in the 1980s), making polls inaccessible to minorities and demonization of minorities as well.

Democracies can be fragile and the right to far right coalition that will govern Israel, will also be fragile (any party leaving the coalition except Kulanu will result in falling under a majority). While the resulting coalition will not include the left or center and depends on each and every right-wing party staying the coalition, the center-left made significant gains.  

Israel more than doubled the number of LGBT MKs from 2 to 5 (the U.S. House of Representatives has 8), added its first Druze female MK, and its first ultra-orthodox woman from a non-orthodox party, and its first conscientious objector.

While several MK candidates who were leaders in undermining democratic institutions like Ayelet Shaked, Naftali Bennet, Caroline Glick, Yehuda Glick and Yehuda Feiglin did not get into the Knesset at all, the Kahanist-descended United Right party picked up 5 seats, effectively holding the 65 seat Netanyahu coalition hostage.

This fragility may not only undermine or put any two-state solution out of reach, it also may threaten the stability of democratic institutions in Israel that protect women, secular Jews, LGBT individuals, Druze, and Arabs, as well as Palestinians residing in the West Bank from settler violence and vandalism.

Democrats for Israel remains committed to our support for Israel's existence and security, but we are also committed to finding a way to make a two-state solution work and ensuring that the most stable democracy in the Middle East remains committed to the democratic principles and inclusion that it was founded on.

We believe it is possible to fight for Israel's security and maintenance of support for Israel as a bi-partisan endeavor (in spite of efforts from the Prime Minister and President Trump to undermine that alliance) and to fight for democratic and inclusive Israel at the same time. We can love America and fight Trump, so too can we be proud of Israel while expressing opposition to right-wing election tactics, rhetoric and policies that are inconsistent with our values.  Holding difficult ground in troublesome times is never easy, but as diaspora Jews and as Democrats we understand the importance of maintaining that fight and building the alliances necessary to hold that ground to ensure that Israel is secure for Jews while protecting the rights of all its citizens.

Democrats for Israel Condemns Netanyahu-Forged Alliance Between Kahanist Otzma and Settler Beit Yehudi Parties

February 20, 2019

Democrats for Israel Los Angeles, the only Jewish and Pro-Israel Democratic Club in Los Angeles, has undertaken the unusual step of condemning Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's attempt to maintain his coalition by brokering a merger of three right wing extremists Israeli political parties, with the expectation that those parties will support his re-election.

According to the Jerusalem Post, all three of the right-wing parties hold extremist views that openly seek to discriminate and promote hate, for non-Jews in Israel. The Otzma party leadership is made up of students of Meir Kahane MK Michael Ben-Ari; Hebron activist Baruch Marzel; Benzi Gopstein, who leads an organization opposing Jewish-Muslim marriages; and far-right activist attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir. Kahane was elected to the Knesset in the 1980s and subsequently banned on grounds of racist incitement; Marzel was his parliamentary aide.

Democrats for Israel President Andrew Lachman offered the following statement:

"For over 70 years, the Israeli electoral system has pushed back against embracing inequality and hate. As the Dutch have pushed back against Geert Wilders "Party for Freedom", the French rejected the National Front and the United Kingdom rejected UKIP, we hope the Central Israeli Elections Commission, which reviews the eligibility of parties under the Basic Laws, will exclude this alliance of three groups each of which support unequal treatment of non-Jewish citizens and defends, if not encourages violence against non-Jews. 

The agendas of these three parties are an affront to our values and the core values that reflect the foundation of Israel.  It is inconceivable as to why anyone would urge these parties of hate merge together much less have a place reserved for them at the governing coalition table with the Prime Minister.

Hate, violence, and inequality are not consistent with Jewish values.Democracies are stronger when they stand against hate, violence andinequality as well. A state of Israel that does not reflect Jewish values does not make the world safer for Jews, it makes it more dangerous.
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Democrats for Israel Los Angeles Stands with the Islamic Community After Christchurch, Calls for Common Cause Against Hate From the Right and Left.

March 17, 2019

We grieve with and extend our condolences to the Muslim community including the friends and families of the victims of a group of Australian white nationalists, who murdered over 40 Muslim men, women and children worshippers, and wounded 20 others at two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We stand with the Muslim community against this senseless act of hatred and violence. We believe every holy space of worship should be protected from violence and vandalism. But this is not enough.

Democrats For Israel Rebukes Rep. Omar's Misstatements on Israel, Jewish Support

February 11, 2019

Democrats For Israel Rebukes Rep. Omar's Misstatements on Israel, Jewish Support.
DFI-LA JOINS DEMOCRATIC HOUSE LEADERSHIP IN CONDEMNING ANTI-SEMITIC STATEMENTS
 

Democrats for Israel Los Angeles, the only Jewish and Pro-Israel Democratic Club in Los Angeles rebuked Rep. Omar twice in two weeks, urging her to take the time to self-reflect and learn more about Israel and the Jewish community.

Yesterday, Rep. Omar (D-MN) accused elected officials of supporting Israel because "It's all about the Benjamins."  Democratic lawmakers and leaders responded with condemnations swiftly, including Speaker Pelosi who called on Rep. Omar to apologize

Democrats for Israel President Andrew Lachman also rebuked the statement:

"Normally when a leader learns and admits that they have made a mistake and wandered into promoting hate speech, whether it be racism, homophobia, Anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, their next steps are cautious ones as they should carefully examine their words and intentions. Regrettably, Rep. Ihlan Omar has now twice in two weeks not chosen the path of self-examination of a person who has admitted to contributing to Anti-Semitism in the past. Whether you agree with AIPAC or not, repeating false statements and Anti-Semitic tropes is not how you build inclusive movements."

Last week, Rep. Omar also made false statements about Israel, comparing Iran and Israel and claiming that Israel was not a democracy because it did not recognize other religions.  Democrats for Israel Los Angeles pointed out otherwise:

"We respectfully suggest that the Congresswoman may need to do more research before stating that Israeli law does not recognize other religions. Israeli law actually recognizes the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and Baha'i faiths. Within the Christian faith, the following denominations are recognized: Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Latin (Roman Catholic), Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Maronite, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Chaldaic (Catholic) and Evangelical Episcopal (Anglican).

As the Israeli government acknowledges, Israel's approach to religion is not like the US (which separates church and state) and not like the UK or Greece which has one recognized state religion, and but its integration does have challenges that lead to a disagreements between more "observant" sects and more secular approaches. Democracies come in many shapes and forms but they all protect minority rights, as do Israel's Basic Laws."

Last month, Rep. Omar apologized for using anti-Semitic tropes in claiming that Israel "hypnotized the world" and promised to learn more and do better.  During her campaign, she tried to calm concerns from Minneapolis' Jewish community by affirming her support for a two-state solution and criticized BDS stating that it was not productive, only to back off some of her criticisms on First Amendment grounds. We recognize and appreciate that she appeared to recognize her failings, albeit temporarily, but atonement requires action, not just lip service.  We build inclusive movements by creating safe spaces for all persecuted groups and having conversations to address inherent prejudices that are systemic in our culture, including Anti-Semitism.

 
 
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Democrats for Israel Analyzes Final Senate Bill on Combating BDS

January 28, 2019

After reviewing the anti-BDS aspects of the legislation, Democrats for Israel Los Angeles supports the goals of S.1 but we also believe it would be better to have a broader application of the law to foreign policy regarding U.S. allies in general.  Most of S.1 increases aid to Israel in critical areas, by extending current aid packages and increasing cooperation in the areas of space exploration and sharing technologies (based on strong export controls by Israel).

The one portion we have had concerns with was the Combating BDS Act.  While we believe that there are elements of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement that oppose Israel's existence, we are also cognizant of the importance of protecting free speech up until the point it becomes hate speech or promotes violence. 

After analyzing the bill, we conclude that the legislation has nothing to do with either limiting or criminalizing speech about Israel.  It does however, provide for a set of transparent rules regarding how a public entity may conduct a vote on divestment or contracting with a company that has chosen to boycott or divest from Israel and allows states to develop similar rules. We would prefer that these rules apply more broadly to U.S. allies.

To be clear, this law allows divestment from Israel and companies doing business with Israel.

However, based on recent attempts to push through votes on divestment without notice, the law requires that the entity (a) provide notice of the vote (b) an opportunity for comment from the public and (c) such action, if approved must take place 90 days or later after the vote.

We view this as ensuring due process and transparency and does not criminalize a decision to divest.  Such rules should apply more broadly to U.S. allies in general.

 

The remainder of the law contains enabling language that permits enforcement of the law by the Department of Justice.

This text addresses our concerns about balancing free speech rights but again broader application would do more to create a uniform set of rules instead of making it about just one (albeit a very important one).

We encourage you to read the bill yourself at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22Israel%22%5D%7D&r=1&s=1#toc-idB9D55ED16FE3443F8D6B1E75763EFF93

 
 
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DFI-LA lauds end to Trump's government shutdown

January 26, 2019

For more than a month President Trump has held American hostage for a wall no one wants.  National Parks have fallen into disarray, airport safety has been put at risk, as has access to critical government services for those in need while nearly 800,000 American federal workers go without a paycheck damaging our economy.

Democrats offered increases in border security funding, more money for enforcement at the border and investment in more technology, but President Trump and GOP only wanted a wall for $5 billion that could instead be spent on people in need or even pay down the deficit.

Thank you to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer for standing up to President Trump and holding the GOP accountable.

 
 
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DFI on GOP shutdown stunt using Israel Aid Bill

January 08, 2019

Democrats for Israel Los Angeles remains strongly supportive of expanded military aid to Israel and Jordan when requested and placing sanctions on Syrians tied to Assad's involvement with the horrific genocide going on in connection with the Syrian Civil War, but support for Israel is not a political football.  When Senator Ben Cardin and every Jewish Senate Democrat opposes moving a bill like this forward because President Trump insists on a wall no one in America wants and is willing to hold Americans' access to critical government parks and resources to do it, we agree. 

DFI-LA roundly condemns the attempted "gotcha" politics by the GOP of playing with national security and the security of Israel.

Further the addition of the "Combatting-BDS Act", creates additional complications.   We believe there are elements of the BDS movement that are not interested in criticizing Israeli policy, but are actively interested in ending Israel.  Stopping those that would seek what could ultimately threaten the lives of nearly 8 million Jews in Israel and those that would seek to impose sanctions without due process is important. The movement also is far too permissive in allowing the use of anti-Semitic dog-whistle terms. We also support giving the states leeway to make their own policies that balance free speech rights as California has effectively done. But so far the case for this legislation and why it merits limiting speech has not been clearly made, especially for those that are trying to legitimately target what they believe is unacceptable conduct that democratic institutions can correct.  If the case can be made, we can support such a bill that targets Anti-Semitic activity and delegitimization of Israel, but it must be done carefully, as Senator Cardin has sought to do in the past.   .

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DFI Praises New Ethopian-Israeli Party in Israel

January 26, 2019

Democrats for Israel enthusiastically supports the establishment of an Ethopian-Israeli party filing to run in the upcoming Israeli elections in April.  Ethiopian Jews have been a part of the Israeli fabric for decades, including Knesset members from existing parties, but as with many parts of the world, racism exists in Israel too, in this case against Africans and Arabs as well. Even a couple of years ago Israeli doctors were accused of administering contraceptive shots to Ethiopian refugee women without appropriately explaining the procedures.  We hope the establishment of this new party lends focus to the need to address systemic inequalities in Israel and we embrace this as another sign of a healthy democratic process..

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sephardic and Mizrahi Communal Response Condemns Jewish Voice for Peace Attempt to Re-Write Their Role Israel

January 23, 2019

In a letter to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), JIMENA, along with a coalition of Sephardic and Mizrahi synagogues and communal organizations called on JVP to remove all references to Mizrahi and Sephardic history in their organizational literature.

Dems Win the House but the Battle Continues

November 10, 2018

We Won the House, but our battle continues
 

On election day, our community spoke loudly and Pro-Israel Democrats did better than ever.

  • Democrats took back the House, picking up at 40 seats despite gerrymandering in many battleground states like Michigan and Texas, even picking up seats in traditional GOP strongholds of Utah, Oklahoma and Kansas.

    • California candidates endorsed by Democrats for Israel such as Mike Levin, Katie Hill and Harley Rouda won. Out of state candidates we supported like Jennifer Wexton (VA), Elissa Slotkin (MI) also won on campaigns to defend health care, social security, Medicare and opposing a divisive Trump agenda.

    • Israel critic and Holocause denier ally Dana Rohrabacher is running slightly behind his race for re-election in Orange County

    • Jacky Rosen won a seat in Nevada, with close races (and possible recounts) in Florida and Arizona.

  • Buffy Wicks and Jesse Gabriel won their Assembly seats.

  • Democrats swept every partisan executive position in California, retained the LA County Assessor seat and won the Sheriff's office, which will hopefully result in stronger prosecution of Anti-Semitic hate crimes, which were 72% of all hate crimes in Los Angeles last year.

Unfortunately, this battle is not over.  President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have expressed the desire to continue pushing for more extremist appointments, an unstable foreign policy, tax cuts to help the richest Americans and policies that put Jewish Americans second to other groups:

  • The Trump Administration is considering a waiver request from a private charity receiving federal funds that wants to refuse services to Jews.

  • North Carolina Pastor Mark Harris, who has declared that the Middle East will never see peace until all Jews convert to Christianity holds a slight lead over Democrat Dan McCready [NOTE Harris will not be seated due to voter fraud allegations against his campaigns], Anti-Israel Congressmembers Justin Amash (R-MI) and Charles Taylor (R-NC) were both re-elected as was Holocaust denier ally Matt Gaetz(R-FL). White Supremacist apologist Denver Riggleman (VA) won his seat in the Charlottesville area.

  • We are still dealing with activists who want to deny that Anti-Semitism exists at both ends of the political spectrum.

Under Speaker Pelosi and Governor Newsom we can expect strong pro-Israel policies and a commitment to Democratic policies that reflect the values of the Jewish community.  We appreciate your support and look forward to working with you in the coming year.

 
 
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Democrats for Israel Launches 2018 Midterm Campaign With Ads, Contributions

October 26, 2018

Democrats for Israel announced the launching of its campaign to support Pro-Israel Democratic candidates.

The campaign includes print and sponsored electronic ads in the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal for candidates that received a "support" recommendation or better as listed on their website, as well as contributions to:

 

Katie Hill (CD 25)

Gil Cisneros (CD 39)

Harley Rouda (CD 45)

Katie Porter (CD 48)

Mike Levin (CD 49)

US Senator Bill Nelson (FL)

Jacky Rosen for Senate (NV)

Krysten Sinema for Senate (AZ)

Jennifer Wexton for Congress (VA)

Elissa Slotkin for Congress (MI)

 

More contributions are expected to come.  In 2006, 2008 and 2014 Democrats for Israel launched similar campaigns to support Pro-Israel Democrats nationally.

Jews Reject Trump 74%-26% Will Vote Democrat

October 17, 2018

President Trump has seen no bump in support from Jewish voters since his election despite his efforts to redefine U.S.-Israel relations, move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and assign his son-in-law to develop a new Mideast "Peace Plan."

A newly released poll said that if the presidential election were to be held now, Trump would get 26 percent of the Jewish vote, with 74 percent going to the Democrat. 

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch: A Democratic House majority will continue support for Israel

October 14, 2018

Democrats for Israel on Rashida Tlaib's Reversal On Support for Two State Solution

August 24, 2018

Former Michigan State Rep. Rashida Tlaib seems to be on her way to becoming the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress (the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress was John Sununu (R-NH)).  Her district being vacated by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, has one of the largest Muslim-American populations in the country.  While Conyers was a staunch supporter of civil liberties and civil rights, his record on Israel and standing up to Anti-Semitism was never that strong (neither was Ron Paul, Walter Jones or Dana Rohrbacher).  We were hopeful that perhaps a new middle ground would be found when Tlaib told J Street that she supported a two-state solution and aid to Israel.  However, whether it was intense pressure from her own community that opposes any normalization of Israel (Electronic Intifada referred to J Street as an "Israel lobby group.") or a deliberate deception, Tlaib abruptly reversed herself the week after the primary, calling for a cut off of all aid to Israel and the imposition of a single state with an open right of return for Palestinians.  This position is even farther out that noted Israel critic and Minnesota Congressional nominee Ihlan Omar, who has come out publicly for the two-state approach.  It is worth noting that these positions are still relatively rare in the Democratic Party.  The Calfornia Democratic Party and DNC platform both strongly support a two-state solution and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Democrats for Israel Los Angeles believes there is room for open discussion but not deception.  That is why we made our candidate questionnaires public before the primary and will be similarly open in taking to task candidates from either party that seeks to undercut support for Israel and the two-state solution.  We support J-Street's decision to revoke their support for her candidacy.

Democrats for Israel Calls for Stronger Support of Israeli Democratic Institutions

August 15, 2018

Since 1992, Democrats for Israel Los Angeles, has and will continue to support the right of Israel to exist and a democratic and peaceful state and recognizes the unique security challenges which Israel faces that few others do.

Part of the strength of Israel is that Israel was founded as a Jewish and democratic state, with a robust free press, strong civil liberties protections for minorities (regardless of religious affiliation, gender or sexual orientation) and dissenting viewpoints.  This combination has been a source of pride for Jews both in Israel and the Diaspora.  It has also been a point in which Israel has distinguished itself from its less inclusive and less democratic neighbors.

While the Palestinian Authority bans Jews from owning property, Israeli law allows any citizen to live anywhere they want to.  While many of Israel’s less democratic neighbors have state-owned media and shut down dissenting opinions through harassment by security forces, Israel has been a country where by and large the government does not attempt to punish dissent or shut down free expression.  Religious theocracies and dictatorships in the region have quashed free expression and oppressed non-Islamic minorities while Israel has, with some exceptions, endeavored to treat Jewish and non-Jewish citizens equally with civil rights and liberties regardless of race, nationality or religion.

However, in the past two years, those bright-line differences between Israel and other countries in the region have become less bright.  Just as we have faced similar challenges to civil rights in the United States under a right-dominated government, the Israeli Center-Right coalition has passed laws and proposed policies that challenge the inclusive, democratic nature of Israel which has historically enabled it to serve as a shining example to the world.

The recent passage of the “Nation-State Bill” is another example of how supposedly symbolic political action may undermine democratic institutions and send a message that non-Jews are not welcome in Israel. While some claim the law simply reaffirms that Israel is, in fact, a homeland for Jews of the world, that isn’t the only language in the bill.  A broad coalition of organizations that support Israel, from left to center to right, have expressed similar concerns. Even conservative Israel advocate Professor Alan Dershowitz said it was unnecessary to pass this law as Israel is already the homeland of the Jewish people. 

However, symbolic, the path of the drafting of the bill tells a story that we are concerned about. The language that was removed after public and international outcry reflected a desire by some political leaders to create a system where non-Jews could have been reduced to second class citizens and religious discrimination legalized.   By making changes to language defining the relationship with the Jewish Diaspora and reducing the status of the Arabic language, the bill sends a symbolic message that it may be acceptable to treat citizens in different ways based on their religion and ethnicity. It also emboldens those who oppose Israel’s very existence by allowing them to gloss over the lack of comparable rights and protections by some of Israel's enemies and detractors.

The passage of laws that impose religious laws on small shops, focus the power of determining who is Jewish on a select few are examples of policies that seek to narrow the inclusive nature of Israel as a Jewish state in a broader sense and the government intimidation of Israeli media, organizations and individuals (citizens and non-citizens) that support the right of Israel to exist but criticize its conduct or point out when Israel fails to live up the reasonable standards of other democratic nations, is troublesome.  There are those who don’t want Israel to exist and seek its violent end, but that is different from those who believe Israel should act like other democratic nations and not like its less democratic neighbors. Dissent and pluralism, while troublesome to those maintaining power, is critical to maintaining accountability in any democratic systems.  Endangering civil liberties only serves to embolden those who don't want Israel to exist at all and allows them to create a distraction from their own anti-democratic policies and behaviors.

Israel’s diversity and democracy are a part of its strength and contribute to its security.  

True allies stand by you, but care enough to also tell you when they see you are doing things that may not be in your best interest.  We will continue to stand by Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people through these challenging times as allies.    

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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We Support Keeping Families Together

June 18, 2018

Democrats for Israel Los Angeles strongly stands with organizations such as the Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Reform Judaism, Uri L'Tezedek (the Orthodox Social Justice Movement), Reconstructing Judaism, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, National Council of Jewish Women, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Hadassah, HIAS, Jewish Labor Committee, the leaders of many other faiths as well as the ACLU, and Democratic leaders and organizations around the United States in condemning our current administrations actions regarding separating immigrant children from families who have been accused of crossing our borders illegally, and imposing a zero-tolerance policy on the families by keeping them locked up separately in detention centers. 

 

As a letter signed by more than 27 Jewish organizations to the Secretary of Homeland Security stated:

 

"This policy undermines the values of our nation and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of thousands of people. As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression. We believe that the United States is a nation of immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation.”

 

Democrats for Israel Los Angeles agrees with this statement and believes this policy is needlessly cruel and unusual punishment especially for the children, who when separated from their parents in new and foreign surroundings, will most likely suffer devastating psychological trauma. These children did not ask to be here, they came here with their parents to flee violence, political and economic oppression. We call for an immediate end to this policy and encourage our representatives to support the Keeping Families Together act to halt this cruel treatment of families as soon as possible and encourage Governor Brown to reconsider the deployment of the California National Guard if it assists this policy in any way.

Democrats For Israel Los Angeles 2018 Midterm Election Endorsements

May 04, 2018

Visit our endorsement page. 

Democrats for Israel Board Meets with Israeli Consulate Staff

July 24, 2018

Democrats for Israel Los Angeles' Board of Directors met with staff from the Los Angeles office of the Israeli Consul General.  The Board appreciated the frank and direct discussion regarding the effect of Israeli policies here in the U.S. and inclusiveness in Israel. 

On the Recognition of Jerusalem by President Trump

Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for some time.  The Knesset, located in the western portion of the city, has been there since 1966 and the Kotel has been an integral part of Israeli identity since it was liberated for Jordanian control in 1967.  However, we also realize that there are parts of Jerusalem that are an integral part of Palestinian identity as well, including neighborhoods surrounding the northern and eastern parts of the Old City that are still predominately Arab in population, character and identity.  The decision regarding what is Jerusalem and which parts should be allocated where were supposed to be a part of a peace negotiation, and the U.S. decision was authorized in legislation in order to promote that discussion.   While the Trump announcement does not foreclose such a negotiation or draw final borders, the symbolism in a region where symbolism often takes on more importance than substance can make moving such a process forward more difficult.  Democrats for Israel supports the right of Israel to determine where it’s capital is, but also prefers to see both sides undertake real commitments to peace over meaningless symbolic gestures at the behest of non-Jewish communities with an interest in the region other than that of peaceful co-existence.

Palestinians/BDS Advocates Make Poor Choices for Heroes – Glorifying Teenager, Mother That Assaulted Soldiers.

It has been said that the Palestinians never lose and opportunity to lose an opportunity – whether it was overplaying their hand with President Obama or walking away from the peace table at Camp David in 1999.  The allies for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement show the same lack of judgment.  In their efforts to build support for Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391, a bill that would bar the spending of U.S. aid to Israel on detaining Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank BDS activist chose to make a hero of “Amed Tamimi” a 16 year old arrested for badgering and then slapping an Israeli Defense Force soldier near her home. Despite the fact that the teenager instigated an unprovoked attack on law enforcement,  Anti-Israel websites like Mondoweiss, published blogs painting her as the victim because she was taking the action in response to the injury of her cousin who was throwing stones at soldiers earlier in the year and claiming Tamimi was hit first, claiming she engaged in the “relatively gentle pushing.”  However, the video they posted to support their point clearly shows Tamimi instigating the attack aggressively.  Tamimi’s history of taping her attacks goes back several years, engaging in a pattern of antagonizing IDF soldiers trying to get them to attack her or other children on video.  To be clear, children are often mistreated and used as pawns in international conflicts. 

 

There is, in fact, a genuine need for greater accountability by police forces, including the IDF regarding their treatment of children.  However,  making a hero of a teenager who repeatedly engages in acts of violence against others is not the best way of making this argument, just as the same BDS activists tried to make a victim out of a Palestinian mother who detonated gas canisters at a checkpoint while shouting terrorist slogans as part of a misinformation campaigninstituted by disaffected Palestinian youth activists who are understandably frustrated at the lack of progress for peace by their own corrupt leadership.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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California Democratic Party Update

CDP Passes Resolutions reiterating support for two state solution, calling for Israel, Palestinians to return to the peace table and condemning Racism and Anti-Semitism in Charlottesville.  At the August California Democratic Party Executive Board Meeting in Anaheim, CA, the party passed two Democrats for Israel sponsored resolutions.  The first reiterated the party’s support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and called for both parties to meet their obligations and return to the table to discuss peace.  It passed despite efforts by Jewish Voices For Peace and pro-BDS activists to deny that the Palestinians had any responsibility or role in moving peace forward.   The second resolution was a better example of how things could be if the parties worked together.  Democrats for Israel, the California Democratic Party African American Caucus and the California Democratic Party Arab American Caucus joined together to draft a resolution “Condemning Racism, White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism And Islamophobia At The “Unite The Right Rally” in Charlottesville.”    The final versions can be found here. Democrats for Israel also commends norther California activists for drafting and helping to pass a resolution that condemned both Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as hate speech at the November meeting.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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​Democrats for Israel Elects New Board, Honors Congressman Schiff and Carpenter’s Union Political Director John Hanna at Garden Party Fundraiser.

Democrats for Israel held its 26th annual Garden Party event at Lantern House in Venice in September. Over 50 attended the event which saw the election of a new board including Andrew Lachman as President, Rami Frankel as Vice President, Michelle Elmer as Vice President and election of a board including Ryan Hughes, Leeor Alpern, Nitzan Harel, Amanda Mintz, Micha Lieberman, David Turkell and Brandon Abraham, Sunny Zia and Max Kanin.  We thanked outgoing President Ryan Hughes, Vice President Elise Weinberg and past President Paul Kujawsky for their dedication and service to the board.

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Democrats For Israel, Los Angeles

Paid for by Democrats for Israel committee. Not authorized by any candidate or any committee. FEC Number C00429571.