Biden, Democratic leaders condemn protest violence outside Los Angeles synagogue


President Biden and prominent Democrats condemned protests of an Israeli real estate sale at a Los Angeles synagogue on Sunday, calling the protests antisemitic.

Groups protesting the Israel-Hamas war and U.S. policy towards Israel gathered outside the Adas Torah, synagogue where organizers held an event advertising real estate for sale in “housing projects in all the best Anglo neighborhoods in Israel.”

“Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American,” Biden said in a statement posted Monday on social media. “Americans have a right to peaceful protest. But blocking access to a house of worship — and engaging in violence — is never acceptable.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (D) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also denounced the protests.

Protest group CodePink blasted Biden’s characterization as “lies” in a statement Monday.

“It is outrageous that President Biden and certain media outlets have misrepresented this protest as an anti-Semitic attack on worshippers,” the group said in a statement, making clear that the protest was against the real estate sale and not related to the synagogue itself.

“This rhetoric is reminiscent of the McCarthy-era smears used to discredit and, at times, deport activists for peace & civil rights,” it continued. “Not only is his narrative false but also dangerous — the protest aimed to address the unethical sale of Palestinian land, not to target any religious group.”

It was unclear if real estate in the event included property on disputed land in the West Bank, which would be illegal under international law. 

The protest group also said Biden’s rhetoric fans the flames of Islamophobia, pointing to an attempted drawing of a 3-year-old Palestinian-American girl in Texas last month. The group called out Biden for not yet making a public statement about the crime after the woman was charged with murder on Sunday.

Just hours after CodePink’s statement, Biden denounced the Texas attack.

Conflict over the protest comes as discontent continues to increase over Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war. The conflict has divided Democrats as the Israeli government appears reluctant to embrace a Biden-led cease-fire agreement.

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