Standing with Jewish Long Beach and National NCJW
Our NCJW section is aligned with Jewish Long Beach regarding the local Proclamation (passed by the LB City Council on December 19) that demanded a united response.
We are also aligned with National NCJW being supportive of the need to recognize that both Israelis and Palestinians have been traumatized. We’ve also seen up close that what happens in Israel affects all Jewish people everywhere.
City of Long Beach Issues and Timeline on a Ceasefire Proclamation
The starting point of the local problem was the city’s process. Our city actively fueled antisemitism. You will find the timeline below on the “War on Israel”page of Jewish Long Beach’s website about the lead-up to the Proclamation, the City’s Council meeting, and our organized outreach to Long Beach elected officials:
Long Beach City Council Timeline and Documents:
November 13: The Equity & Human Relations Commission (EHRC) published a recommendation urging Mayor Richardson and the City Council to adopt a proclamation in support of a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war
December 6: In response, Jewish Long Beach issued a letter to the Equity & Human Relations Commission regarding our concerns with the recommendation, including their references to "Occupied Palestine," "Apartheid," and "Colonialism"
December 15: Long Beach City Council drafted a proclamation in support of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza,
December 19: the Proclamation was adopted by City Council after a 5-2 vote. CLICK HERE TO READ THE PROCLAMATION. ****
December 26: Jewish Long Beach issued a letter to Mayor Richardson in response to the City Council meeting
January 3: The California Legislative Jewish Caucus, co-chaired by Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, issued a letter to Members of the CA State Legislature Re: the Oct. 7 Attach, Rising Antisemitism, and the 2024 Legislative Year”
JLB and the coalition of Jewish organizations they organized could not accept the Proclamation for a Ceasefire because…
it lacks direct condemnation of Hamas as a terrorist organization;
while it does include a request for releasing all hostages, it does not include a call for Hamas to lay down their weapons and does not take into consideration Hamas’s central commitment to the death and destruction of Israel and ultimately the Jewish people; and
it singles out this current crisis primarily because Israel is a Jewish state — yet tens of thousands of civilians who are killed in many conflicts around the world do not trigger protest movements.
During the EHRC meetings and the Dec 19th City Council meeting, pro-Israeli speakers and attendees were subject to boos, heckling, yelling of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,” and constant chants about “Free Palestine” and “Palestinians are the indigenous people!” Many of us Jews present left feeling disheartened, scared, and shocked at the level of hatred that they felt from several hundred pro-Palestinian speakers and protestors.
For those who want to know more, be sure to read the links in blue above, especially December 26 and January 3. Here’s one quote from the January 3rd California State Jewish Caucus:
“We write to ask for your 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.”
JLB’s Next Steps
On January 7, JLB reported to a group of supporters that they have met or communicated with Rep. Garcia, Sen. Gonzalez, Rep. Lowenthal, Mayor Richardson, and eight of the nine Council members. These leaders have thus heard and acknowledged that the Jewish community is angry and scared. JLB’s continuing focus is on the EHRC’s makeup and actions, and a toolkit to help leaders in organizations understand how their actions might contribute to the rise in antisemitism.
A recent survey by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs showed that 2/3 of all Americans believe that growing antisemitism represents a threat to both American freedom and democracy and that they have a responsibility to stand up to antisemitism.
Coordinating an Antisemitism Conference for Local Leaders
As follow-up, your NCJW Advocacy Committee is working hard on our April 2, 2024, “Long Beach Summit: Shining a Light on Antisemitism and Hate,” which is supported by a great Lentzner Grant we obtained and organized by NCJW, JLB, ADL, and CCEJ. The conference is geared to reaching organizational leaders and senior staff, city officials, and our Greater Long Beach school district and college system administrators and lead teachers.
Next Steps: Advocacy's New Fund for Addressing Antisemitism and Racism
We need volunteers and donations to make this conference the success we envision! Volunteer by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and donate or send a tribute to a new fund we created, “Addressing Antisemitism/Hate.” This money will also enable us to create outreach talks and discussion programs for synagogues, JLB, other nonprofits, and the schools to help us all deal with the antisemitism we are experiencing.
Next Local Event Needing a Jewish Response
The Long Beach Commission on Youth and Families has a January 27th meeting at 6 pm with an agenda item 6 about a recommendation to discuss the impact of the Israel-Palestine War on Long Beach’s community members — specifically, youth and families — and if necessary, submit a letter to the Mayor and City Council with a recommendation regarding the same. The meeting will be held at the Dr. Thomas J. Clark Community Center, 2800 N. Studebaker Road, Long Beach, in the Bridge Room.
Next National Issue
The next national issue is Bernie Sanders' Anti-Israel Resolution that the Senate will discuss on Tuesday, January 16th, about Israel committing gross violations of human rights. This could lead to cutting off all U.S aid to Israel.