On Sunday, in the heart of Los Angeles’s Pico-Robertson neighborhood, a bastion of Jewish culture and life, pro-Palestine demonstrators obstructed access to a synagogue, engaged in brazen physical assaults, and spewed vitriolic tirades at Israel supporters. The melee culminated in the arrest of a protester brandishing a spiked weapon, multiple reports of battery, and numerous Jewish people injured and bloodied. Democratic officials feigned surprise as they were confronted with the consequences of their indulgence of an increasingly anti-Semitic climate in the United States. In a familiar display, President Biden, California governor Gavin Newsom, and Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass rushed to condemn the attacks. But these officials have helped create the conditions that precipitated the turmoil.

Surging anti-Israel and anti-Semitic protests, combined with L.A.’s increasing lawlessness, made Sunday’s violence all-but inevitable. The city’s college campuses have been overrun by pro-Palestinian encampments, with agitators seeking to barricade themselves inside university buildings. Protesters stalking across eight lanes of traffic have paralyzed L.A.’s major highways, leaving commuters stranded for hours. Elected officials have been complacent in response, emboldening the agitators they now hypocritically denounce.

It took the outbreak of violence for these officials finally to break their silence. Mayor Bass’s belated promise of beefed-up police patrols in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood is an anemic attempt to rectify months of neglect. For the Jewish people beaten on Sunday, the intervention is too little, too late.

The farce continued after the incident, as even some of the most violent protesters were promptly released from custody, thanks to the misguided policies of Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón. The D.A.’s tenure has obliterated bail for all “nonserious” offenses and prohibited his staff from prosecuting resisting-arrest or disorderly conduct cases.

Criminals across Los Angeles have taken note. The near certainty of facing no real consequences has emboldened them, leading to the sort of violence witnessed outside the Adas Torah synagogue on Sunday. If Gascón has any real concern for the safety of Los Angeles’s citizens, he must ensure that all violent pro-Palestine demonstrators face justice. His office should levy criminal charges against all protesters who acted illegally on Sunday.

The incident in Pico-Robertson is not isolated. It reflects the meteoric rise of anti-Semitism nationally and Democratic officials’ woefully inadequate response. These leaders must confront their complicity in fostering an environment where such hatred can flourish.

Photo by Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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