Web Stories Friday, July 19

WASHINGTON — President Biden said Monday he was “appalled” by clashes outside a Los Angeles synagogue Sunday involving anti-Israel protesters who sought to block the building’s entrance.

“I’m appalled by the scenes outside of Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles,” the 81-year-old president tweeted from Camp David, where he’s spending a full week secluded from the public while preparing for Thursday’s debate against former President Donald Trump.

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

LAPD officers in full riot gear were seen approaching two people inside a Range Rover at a gas station across from the Adas Torah synagogue with guns drawn. Los Angeles Scanner via Storyful
A driver, wearing a mask and yellow shirt, raised his hands in the air before surrendering. Los Angeles Scanner via Storyful

Anti-Israel protesters, many wearing keffiyehs, and Jewish worshippers fought outside the synagogue not far from LA’s ritzy Beverly Hills neighborhood — with at least two people detained during the chaos.

Other prominent politicians condemned the violence, including California’s Democratic nominee for Senate, Rep. Adam Schiff, who is Jewish and represents the nearby cities of Burbank and Glendale.

“Blocking entry to a synagogue. Attacking Jewish people and their businesses indiscriminately. That’s not protest. That’s pure, plain antisemitism,” Schiff tweeted. “The horrifying violence in Pico-Robertson on Sunday has absolutely no place in California.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement: “I want to be clear that Los Angeles will not be a harbor for antisemitism and violence. Those responsible for either will be found and held accountable.”

“I’ve called on LAPD to provide additional patrols in the Pico-Robertson community as well as outside of houses of worship throughout the city,” the Democrat said.

A 69-year-old Jewish man died in November following similar clashes in nearby Thousand Oaks between pro- and anti-Israel protesters.

President Biden traveled to Camp David last Thursday for a week of secluded preparation for CNN’s presidential debate. AP

The rally on Sunday reportedly was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement LA and antiwar group Code Pink — and has followed months of other instances of antisemitism and violence during the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Biden himself has been the subject of large demonstrations — with opponents of US support for Israel repeatedly flooding the park facing the White House to chant “F–k Joe Biden” and write the disparaging nickname “Genocide Joe” on landmarks such at the executive mansion’s gate.

The incumbent has vacillated between outspoken support for and criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, where at least five US citizens are believed to remain captive following Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of about 1,200 people across southern Israel — including 33 Americans.

Polls show that Biden’s support for Israel could threaten his re-election by alienating key Democratic constituencies, including Arab American and Muslim American voters, in swing states such as Michigan.

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