Jewish community members who are critical of Operation Protective Edge, an Israel military offensive in the Hamas-controlled enclave of Gaza that has claimed approximately 800 Palestinians lives and that of more than 30 Israeli soldiers, were among those who turned out to two Los Angeles rallies on July 25.
L.A. Jews for Peace, under the leadership of community member Jordan Elgrably, organized a rally that took place outside the headquarters of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles in the early afternoon on Friday.
“I can’t divorce myself from what is happening over there,” Elgrably, in a pre-rally interview, said. He denounced the “so-called peace process” between Israelis and Palestinians.
Sgt. Al Orozco of the Los Angeles Police Department, who was on the scene, said approximately 80 people turned out to the event.
The rally called for an end to the Israeli operation and the lifting of Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza.
More than 300 people turned out to a rally outside the Federal Building in Westwood later on Friday.
“We cannot help but speak out in response to the horrific loss of life currently taking place in Gaza at the hands of the israeli military,” Jewish Voice for Peace Los Angeles organizer Estee Chandler said during the event’s speakers program.
“We deplore the Israeli government’s crackdown in the West Bank that led to its lethal military onslaught of the people of Gaza, we mourn the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, including children. We condemn Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, and are deeply grieved by the anxiety, injury and death they have caused,” she said.
Several rallies have taken place since Israel and Gaza began trading rocket fire several weeks ago, following the kidnap-murder of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent revenge murder of a Palestinian teen.
Law enforcement is doing its best to “monitor and facilitate the protests in case they become rowdy,” Orozco said in an interview.
“We’re not on higher [security alert], but we are aware of different protests happening around the city,” he said.
Various law enforcement officials provided the Journal with crowd estimates.
The first rally began around 11:30 and ended at 1 p.m.
The second rally began around 1 p.m. and ended around 3 p.m.
Yossie Khen, an Israeli based in West Hills who served in the IDF during the Israel-Egypt War of Attrition, does not believe the conflict can be solved with military action. He, also, turned out to the day’s first rally.
Khen acknowledged there are those Israelis living here, who, unlike him, do not want to face what is happening.
“There’s a big community of Israelis here, and many Israelis come here and they don’t want to deal with it,” he said. He spoke of a friend he had invited but had declined to come on Friday.
“He’s hopeless [about the situation],” Khen said.