For Immediate Release: October 24, 2022
ICAN Announces 2022 West Hollywood City Council Candidate Endorsements and OppositionWest Hollywood, California: The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (“ICAN”) has announced the candidates it has endorsed for the 2022 West Hollywood City Council election.
The City of West Hollywood has a long history of strong relationships with the American Jewish, Israeli, Former Soviet Union Jewish, and Persian Jewish communities, as well as with the State of Israel. The City has an ordinance that forbids contractors from adhering to the Arab League Boycott of Israel, the City in cooperation with the Consulate General of Israel, established the Israel-West Hollywood HIV/AIDS Task Force, has spoken out against the antisemitic Ethnic Studies draft curriculum and more.
The candidates were selected based on their past and current activities relevant to the Jewish and Israeli-American communities, candidate interviews, positions on key issues like public safety and economic development, and their participation in the West Hollywood Combating Antisemitism Summit and Jewish Community Candidate Forum.
Most importantly, at a time when contemporary antisemitic incidents are at historic highs, celebrities and elected officials so casually make racist and antisemitic comments, we need leaders who are unafraid to confront bigotry no matter how powerful the bigots are perceived to be. With this in mind, ICAN has selected the following three West Hollywood City Council candidates for endorsement:
- Lauren Meister, mayor,
- Ben Savage, new candidate, and
- John Duran, former councilmember.
Each of these candidates has demonstrated the independence and determination necessary to confront the serious problems facing our communities stemming from hate and antisemitism, public safety concerns, and economic challenges.
We would also like to acknowledge and express our appreciation to the candidates who participated in the Jewish Community Candidate Forum and expressed support for positions important to our community, including Zekiah Wright, Jordan Cockeram, John Heilman, Steve Martin, and Robert Oliver. In addition, though they did not participate in the Forum, we strongly support the positions expressed by Sarah Adolphson and Adam Darvish. We hope all of the candidates listed above will run again in the very near future.
Finally, we continue to have serious concerns about the candidacy of Chelsea Byers. When given the opportunity during the October 19, 2022, Candidate Forum to clearly state how her positions on supporting the discriminatory boycott of Israel, opposing foreign aid to Israel, and other positions harmful to our community’s interests, she failed to deliver. In particular, we have concerns about the following facts:
- At Northern Arizona University, Byers established her chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization known to U.S. authorities to have financial ties to international terrorist organizations, including Hamas.
- When asked during the campaign about her history of anti-Israel activism, Byers stated that she did not oppose Israel but rather was protesting “the silencing of dissent” – a claim that clearly does not support her well-documented and long history of activism against Israel.
- Despite assurances made in private to have changed her positions on Israel, Byers has refused to publicly state exactly how her views have changed and what she believes now, while she historically has been very public about her positions that stand in opposition to the interests of the mainstream Jewish and Israeli-American communities.
For these reasons, we must oppose the candidacy of Chelsea Byers for the West Hollywood City Council.The Israeli-American Civic Action Network is dedicated to empowering Israeli immigrants and American allies to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S. – Israel alliance through advocacy education and civic action. Learn more at IsraelUSA.org.