New York Times Whitewashes Violent LA Synagogue Attack by Pro-Hamas Thugs

News of the recent violent protest outside a Jewish synagogue in Los Angeles got a standard pro-Palestinian New York Times whitewash from reporters Jill Cowan and Jonathan Wolfe. Much of their take was devoted not to the violence committed by thugs against Jewish people entering a house of worship, but to an abstract defense of the right to protest supposedly coming under threat by Democrats, including President Biden.

As if using bear spray and masks and chants of “Intifada!” were normal parts of constitutionally protected protests (none of those gory details made it into the NYT story, as opposed to the more comprehensive one that appeared in the synagogue’s local Los Angeles Times.)  

A protest outside of a synagogue in Los Angeles’s most densely populated Jewish enclave on Sunday drew unusually swift and forceful condemnation from top Democratic leaders including President Biden, reigniting debates about the boundaries of acceptable protest as tensions over the war in Gaza continue to flare across the country.

The president, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom of California and Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles, joined Jewish groups in seeking to cast synagogues and other houses of worship as off-limits to demonstrators.

“Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American,” Mr. Biden said in a statement posted on 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.”

Pro-Palestinian groups criticized that characterization, defending Sunday’s demonstration and arguing that protesting an event at a synagogue was not inherently antisemitic.

In this case, demonstrators were protesting a real estate fair at Adas Torah synagogue, where attendees were invited to meet “representatives of housing projects in all the best Anglo neighborhoods in Israel” on Sunday afternoon.

….

Mr. Biden was, in essence, claiming that it adhered to American values “to use a place of worship to illegally sell ‘Anglo neighborhoods’ on stolen, occupied land,” organizers with the antiwar activist group Code Pink, which supported Sunday’s demonstration, said in a statement. “This mischaracterization by President Biden is outrageous and has real consequences.”

Rabbi Dovid Revah of Adas Torah said the event was the first of its kind that the synagogue had hosted, and it would probably be the last. Still, he disputed that the event was promoting illegal land sales.

The reporters shrugged their shoulders over who started what, though the pro-Hamas contingent are almost invariably the violence-stokers in these situations.

After some back and forth about violence at the UCLA encampment, and the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles and Democratic governor of California noting the anti-Semitism, the utterly discredited, Hamas-linked Islamic pressure group CAIR somehow got quoted as an expert source.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that protests should never involve violence, but also that the right to speak out should not be limited.

Naturally, the smug ACLU was on the scene.

Peter Eliasberg, chief counsel for First Amendment rights at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, says that violence and blocking access to buildings are never protected under the First Amendment. But protesting outside of houses of worship is protected speech — a fact, he noted, that the Supreme Court has affirmed.

He added that leaders’ quickness to condemn the protest as antisemitic, without knowing specifics about the violence, was troubling. That impulse, Mr. Eliasberg said, was something he observed in responses to the campus protests, as well.

“In some of the responses, it’s really sloppy thinking and some ignorance or deliberate ignoring of what the Constitution protects,” he said.

By contrast, the Los Angeles Times managed to report less flattering facts about this “constitutional” protest:

Eden Cohen said a handful of LAPD officers were standing at the entrance of the synagogue, apparently trying to keep protesters from going inside. Her throat and eyes burned from the bear spray that saturated the air, she said, adding that she saw Jewish people on the ground after being sprayed with the irritant as others tried to help them….

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