“Put Jews back in the oven.”
–Samples of hate speech statements made at recent anti-Israel rallies
On Monday, January 19, our committee met with Rabbi Allen Freehling, Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission. As a result of our meeting, Rabbi Freehling will pursue a number of avenues in the hope of creating a more positive climate. There will be a follow-up meeting in two weeks, and we will inform the community as to the results.
Mr. Robin Toma, Executive Director
Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations
Hall of Records - Suite 1184
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Rabbi Allen Freehling
City of Los Angeles, Human Relations Commission
City Hall, Room1625
Los Angeles, CA 90012
January 13, 2009
To the Leaders of Our Community,
As a committee of citizens and residents of Los Angeles, we are writing to you with concerns relative to the escalation of anti-Semitism in the greater Los Angeles area. Across our city, Jews and their supporters have recently experienced vicious verbal abuse from anti-Israel and pro-Hamas demonstrators at various rallies throughout the city.
In light of the recent Gaza crisis between Hamas and Israel, emotions locally, nationally and internationally have reached a fever pitch that have the potential to result in very dangerous repercussions for members of the Jewish community both here in Los Angeles and throughout the country.
Under the protection of the First Amendment, the pro-Hamas anti-Israel movement has allowed or encouraged the use of inflammatory words to be hurled at and about Jews, reminiscent of Nazi Germany. It should be noted that in1995, pursuant to Executive Order 12947, the U.S. designated Hamas as a terrorist organization and, in 1997, as a foreign terrorist. Hamas was also designated as a “global terrorist” under Executive Order in 2001.
It is our hope that when Hamas or Hezbollah flags are brought to rallies, the rally organizers formally distance themselves from such flags and any accompanying hateful speech. Vicious chants, such as “Put Jews back in the oven,” “Rest in peace, Hitler” and “Use Jews as fossil fuel,” have been heard along with threats of violence at an accelerated rate from Florida to Los Angeles .
These anti-Semitic chants are being circulated throughout the world via the Internet. History teaches us that, if allowed to continue or intensify, such words can become the norms of society and have the potential to lead to ethnic strife and even violence. We find it difficult to understand that people of decency would stand by silently as demonstrators wearing a Hezbollah jacket and flying Hamas flags praise Hitler in the streets of Los Angeles while calling for the “ovens to be re-fired.” We call on the mayor of Los Angeles, the County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council to publicly denounce such dangerous and egregious rhetoric about Jews and the state of Israel.
Examples of hateful speech can be seen on YouTube by searching for “Dueling Rallies in LA by Israeli Consulate” and at Los Angeles pro-jihad rally: "Long live Hitler," "Put Jews in ovens". On this video, you can hear statements like, “Put Jews in ovens.”
Our committee would like to meet with you as soon as possible. Please let us know when you are available so that we can bring further materials reflecting these very serious concerns to your attention.
Allyson Rowen Taylor and Katy Haber
People Against Hate Speech and Anti-Semitism
Anti-Israel rally, January 11, 2009, Los Angeles