ICAN Condemns Introduction of L.A. City Council Resolution on Gaza that Erases Israeli Identity and Incites Hate Towards Jewish and Israeli Angelenos

The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN) condemns the introduction of a resolution at the Los Angeles City Council related to the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. Councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez and Nithya Raman introduced the resolution at the June 4th, 2024 council meeting, and it was seconded by Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez. [A PDF copy of the resolution is available here.]

Los Angeles is home to the largest Israeli immigrant community outside of Israel. Councilmembers Hernandez, Raman, and Soto-Martinez neither consulted nor communicated with the Israeli community before introducing a resolution about Israel.

“We are tired of activist politicians dehumanizing Israeli immigrants in America with their ignorance of history, lack of awareness of current events, and outright hostility against Jews fighting for self-determination in their ancestral land of Israel,” said Dillon Hosier, CEO at ICAN. “Los Angeles is home to the largest community of Israelis outside of Israel, and this resolution, filled with obvious Hamas disinformation, makes all Jewish and Israeli-Angelenos a target. Councilmembers Hernandez, Raman, and Soto-Martinez should be ashamed of themselves.”

The resolution contains additional dehumanizing language, stating that the City “will not tolerate any form of hateful and racist language, especially antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, and Islamophobic hate speech,” while ignoring anti-Israeli and anti-Israel hate speech. This blatant erasure of Israeli national origin fails to acknowledge one of Los Angeles’ diverse communities and incites hate against all Jews at a time when Jew-hatred, not Islamophobia, is surging out of control.

Besides ignoring the Israeli-American community in Los Angeles and defaming its homeland, Israel, the resolution is riddled with errors and omissions, including:

  1. Referring to the events of October 7th, 2023, as a “surprise attack by Hamas” in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and 240 Israelis were taken “captive.” There is no mention of Hamas as a terrorist organization or the brutal manner in which they murdered their victims and engaged in sexual violence. It ignores the fact that many Americans were murdered and taken hostage, including Californians. And there is no mention of the fact that several other countries had nationals who the Hamas terrorist organization brutally murdered and took hostage.
  1. Citing death and casualty figures from the Hamas terrorist organization, which is blatant disinformation. The resolution’s statistics don’t distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians, and they ascribe all innocent deaths to Israel while ignoring that Hamas often kills their own people purposefully through executions and accidentally through rocket misfires (~20% of rockets launched fall back into Gaza) and other combat-related mishaps.
  1. The resolution references food insecurity in Gaza, implicitly blaming “Israeli military forces in Gaza” while ignoring the fact that Hamas steals humanitarian aid and otherwise hampers its distribution.

  2. The resolution fails to acknowledge how Hamas has hijacked Gaza, turning it into a terror base. Billions in international aid have been stolen to support Hamas leaders in Qatar, while Gazans suffer. Hamas used construction materials to build terrorist tunnels instead of civilian infrastructure, and they use schools, hospitals, and homes for military purposes. They have launched tens of thousands of rockets targeting millions of innocent Israeli civilians. Despite numerous ceasefire proposals, Hamas has consistently rejected them and, according to the Biden administration, is currently obstructing one.

The resolution claims to support “peaceful diplomacy,” and “an end to the conflict that honors all peoples’ right to dignity, safety, and justice,” while solely focusing on dignity, safety, and justice for Palestinians and diplomacy that would leave Hamas in power to kill again, as it has promised to repeat October 7th-style attacks. The resolution fails to demand a lasting peace that guarantees Israel’s right to live within secure borders, safe from threats of attack.

The omission of Iran, which has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, is a state sponsor of proxy terrorism aimed at Israel and an Islamofascist apartheid regime that continually assaults human rights, is particularly egregious. The resolution ignores the role of Qatar in funding Hamas terrorism, hosting Hamas oligarchs, training Hamas, and propagandizing for Hamas.

The Councilmembers also ignored the suffering of Israelis as a result of this war.

As of recent reports, approximately 300,000 Israelis have been internally displaced due to the ongoing conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. This displacement includes about 100,000 people who were initially evacuated from communities near the Gaza Strip and the northern border areas affected by Hezbollah’s attacks. Another 100,000 people have self-evacuated from areas close to these active conflict zones.

Since October 7, 2023, Hezbollah has significantly intensified its attacks on northern Israel. The organization has launched over 1,000 rockets, missiles, and other projectiles into Israeli territory. These attacks have targeted various locations, including Kiryat Shmona, Rosh Hanikra, and Mount Dov, causing significant damage to infrastructure and homes.

In addition, the attacks have caused fires in the mountains of northern Israel. Over 30 firefighting teams have been actively battling these blazes, which have scorched approximately 10,000 dunams of open areas. The fires, which raged for over 48 hours, have now been brought under control, but the region experienced severe damage and disruption.

In Gaza, approximately 99% of the population is Muslim, Israel is a vibrant and diverse society with a rich tapestry of ethnic, religious, and cultural communities. The Jewish population, which forms the majority, includes Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, Sephardi Jews from Spain and Portugal, Mizrahi Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, and Ethiopian Jews.

Alongside the Jewish majority, Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, and Druze make up significant portions of the population. Other notable groups include the Bedouins, traditionally nomadic tribes mainly settled in the Negev desert, and the Circassians, a small Muslim community from the Caucasus region. This diverse demographic landscape enriches Israel’s cultural fabric and contributes to its dynamic society.

When Hamas and Hezbollah attack Israel, it is not just attacking Jewish people, but it is also endangering a diverse population that includes Muslims, Christians, Druze, and other minority groups.

As such, we call on other members of the Los Angeles City Council to reject this error-filled, one-sided, and divisive resolution and urge Councilmembers Hernandez, Raman, and Soto-Martinez to refocus attention on the humanitarian crises in their districts.

About the Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN): The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN) is the only organization that brings together Israeli and American activists to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S.-Israel alliance. ICAN is dedicated to strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel at all levels of government through civic education, advocacy, and public engagement. ICAN works to foster a deep understanding of the political, social, and cultural issues facing the Jewish and Israeli-American communities. Through grassroots campaigns, legislative initiatives, and public awareness efforts, ICAN empowers individuals to become informed and active participants in American civic life.

For more information, visit icanaction.org.

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