COMMUNITY Briefs: Radio Show Suspended, Chabad Vandalized, Wisenthal Expansion Approved

KPFK Suspends Radio Show for Hate Speech
“La Causa,” a KPFK call-in radio show aimed at Latino audiences has been suspended following an article in the March 20 issue of The Jewish Journal.

The article quoted the host and callers’ consistent criticism of Jews and of Israel; a statement on the KPFK Web site said the show “facilitated hate speech.”

Calling such speech “deplorable and unbefitting of the Pacifica Foundation mission,” the statement added, “We have addressed this matter with the programmer in question as well as countless constituents and have concluded that allowing the broadcast of bigoted and racist content demonstrated a severe lack of judgment on the part of the programmer.”

The show will not come back on the air, the statement says, “unless and until we are 100 percent assured that there will be no repeat airing of any such offending content.”

— Staff Report

Riverside Chabad Vandalized

Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were painted last week on the walls and windows of the Chabad Jewish Community Center of Riverside. “SS” and “88” — two terms popular with white neo-Nazis — were painted above a swastika on one door. Below were the German words “Actung! Juden” — or “Warning! Jews.”

The synagogue and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the vandals.

“Vandalizing a Jewish house of worship sends a message of hate to the entire Jewish community,” said Alison Mayersohn, ADL senior associate director for the Pacific Southwest region. “A crime such as this doesn’t merely affect one building, but is of concern to the entire community. We thank the Riverside Police Department for their immediate response and thorough investigation.”

The ADL urged anyone with information to contact Riverside Police Department’s Centralized Investigations Division at (951) 353-7100.

— Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer


Orthodox School Purchases Daniel Murphy Building

Orthodox day school Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov/Ohr Eliyahu has purchased the former Daniel Murphy Catholic High School building on Third Street, near La Brea Avenue, in the heart of the Fairfax district’s Orthodox community.

Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg, Ohr Eliyahu’s principal, confirmed that donors had purchased the building for the school and said details would soon be forthcoming about when the preschool through eighth grade school would move.

Goldberg did not disclose the purchase price for the 60,000-square-foot cluster of buildings. Since the Los Angeles Archdiocese closed the more than 50-year-old Daniel Murphy building in 2008, community members have been speculating which Jewish organization might snatch up the site.

Ohr Eliyahu currently occupies a former Culver City public school on a lush 4-acre campus near Kenneth Hahn State Park, which it purchased for $1.4 million in 1999 after leasing the site for four years. Ohr Eliyahu was founded in the mid-1980s in Venice.

Over the last 25 years, the school has established itself as a strictly Orthodox institution focused on developing strong morals among its nearly 300 students through character development programs, solid academics and artistic expression. Currently several miles from Orthodox neighborhoods, the school prided itself on forging a self-selective parent body.

Goldberg says the move will make the school a more convenient destination for more people, but does not signal any change in the school’s mission. Goldberg says the courtyard at the center of the campus retains the open feel the school has enjoyed.

Daniel Murphy has occupied the site since 1953, and the current buildings, erected in the 1960s, include classrooms, chapels, residential quarters where the nuns lived, a gymnasium and an outdoor yard. Citing declining enrollment at the school, the Archdiocese announced the closure of the 240-student school in Oct. 2007, as part of a large sell-off of properties to help pay a $660 million settlement to victims of clergy abuse.

— Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Senior Writer


Wiesenthal Center Expansion Approved

A lengthy and frequently acrimonious dispute between the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its residential neighbors reached a crucial point last week when the Los Angeles Planning Commission approved a somewhat modified expansion plan for the center’s Museum of Tolerance.

After 18 months of proposals, hearings and protests, the commission, by a vote of 8 to 0, on March 26 endorsed the essence of MOT’s expansion project. In doing so, the panel rejected the opinion of senior city planner Jim Tokunaga, who had urged more restrictive conditions.

However, the museum also cut back on some of its original demands. On one particularly contentious point — MOT’s plans to rent its projected new facilities to outside parties and organizations for late evening meetings and social events — the museum agreed to set the curfew at 10 p.m., rather than at midnight. In addition, attendance will be limited to 500 people, rather than the 800 originally requested, but the commission permitted the museum to hold 18 such events a month, rather than the two proposed by Tokunaga. The panel also approved modifications in the size of a buffer zone separating the museum from its neighbors, but at the same time went along with extended hours for museum visitors.

Throughout the protracted dispute, many of the 144 single-family homeowners in the North Beverlywood neighborhood, adjoining the museum on three sides south of Pico Boulevard, had protested that the expansion would further aggravate existing noise, traffic and litter problems from museum visitors and the adjacent Yeshiva of Los Angeles.

Susan Gans, co-chair of HOME (Homeowners Opposed to Museum Expansion), argued that the museum had consistently violated restrictions imposed under its conditional-use permit and could not be trusted to self-enforce any limitations on the current expansion plans. “You can no more trust the Wiesenthal Center to police itself than you would trust Bernie Madoff with your savings, “ Gans said.

Susan Burden, the Wiesenthal Center’s chief financial and administrative officer, struck a more conciliatory tone. “The Museum of Tolerance is very pleased that the City Planning Commission understood our need to expand to meet the growing need for our programs,” Burden said. “We substantially modified our original proposal in response to neighborhood concerns and requests from the City Council office and we believe that the result is a plan that will work for everyone.”

Gans said that her opposition group would appeal the planning commission’s decision to the Los Angeles City Council, and if rejected, would file a lawsuit to stop the expansion project.

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor


Tarzana Preschool May Close

Unless new donors step up with a generous offer of support, the Eretz Alliance preschool in Tarzana could shutter its doors at the end of the academic year in June. The center, which has funded and shared its Wilbur Avenue campus with the school for 12 years, announced in a January letter to school parents that it could no longer pay to keep the facility open due to hard economic times.

“Gradual decrease in donations, and low tuition for the past few years, created a serious and dangerous situation for the center,” the center’s board members wrote in the letter. They said they wouldn’t be able to keep funding teacher and staff salaries and other expenses needed to keep the school open past this year.

Many parents have agreed to pay higher tuition and raise funds themselves to keep the Conservative, 62-student school open, director Cookie Spancer said. Tuition is on the low end of the scale for similar school programs — $6,300 per year — but many parents have said they would be willing to pay as much as $8,000.

Still, Eretz Cultural Center representatives told Spancer these measures would not be enough, she said. The school building would need major structural repairs to remain open, they said, which family fundraising efforts couldn’t cover.

The center has received several offers of support to keep the school open, Spancer said. An unnamed Orthodox organization came forward but could not reach a deal with the center. A former school mother offered to purchase the school and run it as a for-profit institution at a different location, but zoning issues could prevent the school from using the new site. Spancer said she is now hoping for “a miracle.” In the meantime, she is urging parents to secure spots for their children at other neighborhood Jewish schools and “save themselves” in case the offer falls through.

Some parents said they are having a hard time finding other preschool programs with a comparably close-knit atmosphere.

“This is devastating for us,” said school mother Lobat Abrams, of Tarzana, whose son, Aaron, has one year left before kindergarten. “It’s such a family-oriented place. It breaks my heart that it’s closing.”

Eretz Cultural Center board members could not be reached for further comment.

— Rachel Heller, Contributing Writer


Idan Raichel Performs Solo

Idan Raichel, the creative mastermind behind The Idan Raichel Project, made a special solo appearance at Temple Israel of Hollywood on March 30, orchestrated by the Israeli Consulate. The dreadlocked singer-songwriter spoke and performed in front of an audience of approximately 150 day school students as well as 36 girls from the neighboring Aviva Family and Children’s Services Residential Treatment Center. The center provides round-the-clock treatment and assistance to abandoned, neglected, abused and at-risk youth aged 12 to 18.

Raichel, who seemed more bashful in front of this young audience than he had for the near-capacity crowd at the downtown Orpheum Theatre the night before, played snippets of his songs on the piano, but spent much of the time answering questions from the audience about the meaning of his songs, his musical inspirations, Israeli culture and his personal life (“How long did it take you to grow out your hair?” and “Are you a vegetarian?”). The highlight came when a girl requested that Raichel sing “Boi,” adding that they had learned a dance to his song. As Raichel sang one of the hit tracks that catapulted him to the top of the Israeli music scene in 2002, a group of day schoolers surrounded the piano and swayed and turned in a synchronized dance.

“I am so touched,” Raichel told the kids. “It was a great honor to play for you. Thank you.”

— Dikla Kadosh, Contributing Writer


Youth Support Maccabees

If you happened to pass by the chic West Hollywood club Guy’s on March 25, you might have heard the rapper Kurupt giving a shout-out to all the “Young Maccabees” in the house, partying to support the “Jewish Olympics.” A stylish, mostly 20-something crowd packed the hotspot for a party to benefit Maccabi World Union (MWU), which sponsors Jewish athletes attending the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel July 12-23.

In addition to the MWU’s influential Committee of 18, which includes Steve Soboroff, Jamie McCourt and Kirk Douglas, Los Angeles now has a Young Leadership Committee with 20 members and an active board of six. (The other U.S. chapters of the MWU are in Miami and New York.) With 350 attending last week’s event, board co-chair Ari Friedland said, “This was just a warm-up to let people know who we are, what our goals are,” and will be followed by a gala in May.

The event was promoted principally through personal networks on Facebook, as well as a new site called Paperless Post, which hosts both invitations and ticket purchasing. Friedland said he considers Maccabi to be one of the most vital forms of creating Jewish pride and identity.

“It’s non-religious and non-political, so it’s a big unifier,” he said. “And it’s a perfect fusion of the two things many of us were raised loving: Israel and sports.”

The cost is $4,800 to sponsor an athlete who would otherwise not be able to attend the Jewish sport quadrennial, which is tied for the third-largest sporting event in the world, measured by participants. The Maccabi organization hopes that as many as 10,000 athletes will compete. (Although only Jewish athletes are invited globally, all Israeli citizens are eligible, and Israeli Arabs have won medals in past competitions.) About 80 percent of the non-Israeli athletes who will compete have never been to Israel.

The 18th Maccabiah Games will be broadcast for the first time in the U.S., through Jewish Life TV and its major cable partners.

For more information, visit or

— Daniel Housman, Contributing Writer


Extremist Opinions Must Not Go Unchecked

We in the progressive Jewish world are often asked: “What are you doing to combat anti-Semitism?” The simple and unequivocal answer is that we condemn it when we see or hear it.

The views expressed on the KPFK-FM radio show, “La Causa,” on Jan. 7, as reported in The Jewish Journal this month, crossed the line between legitimate political opinion and hate speech. Calling for the State of Israel to be annihilated or exterminated, as one caller did without dissent or interruption, is the kind of statement that must be unhesitatingly rejected. 

So, too, should the words of “La Causa” host Augustin Cebeda, who has mocked Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for “dancing around with a yarmulke on his head” and frequently conflates Jews and Israelis in coarse and unsettling terms.

Unfortunately, Cebeda’s words cast a shadow over Latino-Jewish relations in our city. Much of his wrath is poured out on Israel, an issue of central concern to many in the Jewish community.

Cebeda’s extremist language and conflation of issues are reminiscent of the slogans and chants that led many Jews to abandon demonstrations against the Iraq War, even though a strong majority of American Jews opposed the war.

By allowing extremist opinions to go unchecked, groups spearheading progressive issues weaken their ability to build a broad and powerful coalition to address core issues, such as poverty, health care and immigration. In a similar vein, Cebeda’s anti-Semitic and inflammatory remarks on KPFK are not just an offense to American Jewry but make it more difficult to build the kind of broad coalition needed to address the critical economic and civil rights issues facing the Latino community in Los Angeles.

It is necessary, therefore, to condemn his views without reservation. At the same time, it is essential to understand that the relations between Latinos and Jews do not and should not hinge on one person. Nor, for that matter, must Latino-Jewish relations necessarily hinge on support for issues of principally Jewish communal concern, specifically Israel.

Another KPFK host, Gustavo Arellano, reminded us in the same article in The Journal that “most Latinos care much more about politics in their home countries or in the United States than what happens in the Middle East.”

Some in our community actively court Latinos for instrumental reasons, to bolster support among them for Jewish-specific issues (including Israel). We at the Progressive Jewish Alliance believe that there are other, more local issues that should also stand at the center of our shared agenda.

We are not alone in this belief. The venerable American Jewish Committee (AJC), which was lauded in The Journal for its efforts to build dialogue with Latinos, took a bold stand on a controversial issue of deep concern to Latino Angelenos: immigration. AJC’s leadership in support of the Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act of 2009 exemplifies the type of meaningful and authentic bridge-building that can effect real change in our city.

For our part, PJA has spent the last 10 years standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Los Angeles’ predominantly Latino low-wage workforce to gain fair wages and working conditions, so that they, too, can realize their share of the American dream. In fact, the role played by PJA in the 2005 hotel workers’ campaign prompted our partners in the Latino community to proclaim the dawn of a “new Jewish-Latino alliance.”

The point is not to indulge in self-congratulation. It is to affirm that while our mission is to engage in tikkun olam (repairing the world) in a global sense, it is no less to engage in tikkun ha-ir — that is repair of the city in which we dwell alongside our friends and neighbors.

Our work on behalf of tikkun ha-ir is not instrumental; it is animated by the talmudic principle (BT Shabbat 54b) that one who does not protest against injustice in his city — as against injustice in his family, nation or the world at large — is accountable for the wrong done.

It does not suffice to engage in symbolic acts alone. Table discussions and handshakes are important, but the key challenge is to confront the daily, real-life questions of our city, together.

We do not and will not hesitate to call out Cebeda and those who share his repugnant views. But neither will we hesitate to call out those in our city, including our fellow Jews, who exploit the less fortunate through inhumane labor practices and unlivable wages.

And so, PJA is currently involved in a campaign against exploitive car wash owners in the city, Jews among them, who subject their largely Latino workers to dehumanizing conditions.

It is our belief that work of this sort builds strong and reliable bridges to the Latino community. PJA acts in this way not in hopes of a quid pro quo with our Latino friends but rather on the belief that repair of the city is a quintessentially Jewish concern.

The anti-Semitism of a few, which we must combat without hesitation, will not deter us from seeking the well-being of the many.

Jaime Rapaport is the Southern California regional director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, a California-based organization that serves as a vehicle connecting Jews to the critical social justice issues of the day and to the cities in which they live. Professor David N. Myers teaches Jewish history at UCLA and is a member of PJA’s state board.


Latino Radio Show Stirs Concern Over Views on Jews

On a Los Angeles FM radio talk show, the following aired recently:

A caller identifying himself as Mohammed said, “I believe that so-called Israel should be annihilated totally, wiped off the map … I hope that Iran has the gall to nuke and exterminate them so they go back to Europe.

“And as long as there is one Palestinian man, woman or child, there will be no peace in Palestine … as far as I’m concerned, so-called Israel should be exterminated from the face of the earth. That’s my personal opinion. They have no right to exist….”

Augustin Cebada, the show’s host, did not interrupt or argue. He let Mohammed finish, then said, “OK, maybe those are your opinions, and there’s probably a lot of people out there who agree with you. We have free speech in this country….”

Cebada later took a call from Dan, who objected to what he’d just heard: “When a caller calls with that kind of hatred, that kind of Nazi rhetoric, that Israel should be wiped off the map, that’s what fuels the fire, and you people did not respond by saying, ‘This is the kind of hatred we don’t need.’ And that’s what’s fueling the hatred, isn’t it?”

This time, Cebada cut the caller off, saying: “There’s a lot of hatred in your voice, Dan, in your tone. This program offers a forum so people can express what they’re feeling….”

KPFK, Pacifica Foundation’s longtime, Progressive, listener-supported L.A. radio station, aired that exchange on Jan. 7, 2009, on a Wednesday night bilingual talk-show called, “La Causa” (“The Cause”), which has a mix of English and Spanish.

The show is presented as a forum on issues important to Latinos, one of many community-minded shows the station offers. But this one has a particularly sharp edge: It excoriates what it identifies as police oppression and harassment of Latinos and advocates for “Aztlan” — a separatist Chicano nation to be carved out of territory Chicano militants claim was illegally seized by European colonists. Aztlan would be created in place of what is now a large part of the American West and Southwest.

Cebada, co-host Rafael Tlaloc and their callers draw parallels between Latinos in the United States and Palestinians in the Middle East: Just as American descendants of Europeans “should go back to Europe,” so, too, the descendants of European Jews in Israel should leave the Middle East and go live in Europe.

Though it presents itself as a program by and for Latinos, “La Causa” spends a lot of time on the subject of the Middle East, all of it fiercely critical of Israel. Referring to the recent military actions in Gaza, the show’s hosts characterize Israelis as perpetrators of “genocide,” “massacre,” “slaughter,” “war crimes,” “ethnic cleansing” and “atrocities.”

Cebada and Tlaloc have said Israelis are “acting like Nazis.”

A sampling of recent comments on “La Causa”:

“Rahm Emanuel is a Trojan Horse making sure that Obama does not push for peace in Palestine that would free the people of Gaza.” Emanuel was “forced” on the Obama administration by “certain interest groups.” (Dec. 17, 2008)

“Israel controls the media here; Jewish AIPAC controls the media, so the only real news we can get is from Al-Arabiya….” (Jan. 7)

“The U.S. doesn’t get to see the horrible things taking place [in Gaza], bombing of schools and hospitals. [Israelis] kill a lot of children; they don’t care….” (Jan. 14)

“This whole thing about Israel being a democracy is a farce. Total BS….  A charade….  And our tax dollars pay for the slaughter.” (Jan. 14)

“[Gaza] is total imprisonment, a concentration camp…. The Nazis would have been envious of the Israelis at this time….” (Jan. 14)

Cebada did not respond to repeated requests from The Journal for an interview. He has said on air that he’s 46 and has been a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. (The LAUSD has no record of anyone with the name “Augustin Cebada” ever having worked as a teacher or in any other capacity.)

Photos and audiotape of Cebada from a 1996 appearance at a July 4 pro-Chicano rally in Westwood can be found on the Internet. Dressed in a Brown Berets uniform and presenting himself as “information minister” of the group, Cebada told his listeners, “We [Chicanos] are not going to be pushed around…. We are the majority, and we claim this land as ours….”

In recent months, Cebada has been active in the Echo Park Neighborhood Council. A local newspaper, the Eastsider LA, compared the council’s January meeting to the “Jerry Springer” show. The meeting came to order then almost immediately fell into “total disorder,” according to the report, with “insults and threats” flying back and forth between Cebada and Jose Sigala, who was there representing Councilman Richard Alarcón.

The height of the chaos came when Cebada “banged on a hand-held drum” and called Sigala a “fat, bald-headed Mussolini.”

Cebada uses the same kind of rhetorical flourishes on “La Causa.” California’s governor is called “Arnold Schwarzenazi,” and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa a “groveling, sniveling lapdog.”

When referring to Israel, Cebada usually calls it “that semitheocracy, so-called democracy.” He tells his listeners that Arab citizens of Israel can’t vote. (They can and do: More than 50 percent voted in the recent Israeli election.) He says that only Jews can enter the Israeli Defense Forces. (There are non-Jews in the IDF.)

The show’s hosts would likely argue, as many do these days, that being against Israel is not the same as being against Jews. Others would counter that anti-Zionism, in its current form, is a socially acceptable cover for anti-Semitism. Whatever one’s view, the hosts of “La Causa” blur this distinction.

They use Zionist, Jewish, Israeli and even Ashkenazi interchangeably, as when they say, “The Israeli people, the Jewish people” or mention the relationship between Villaraigosa and “the Zionists,” when the reference is clearly to Jews in Los Angeles.

At times, “La Causa’s” hosts talk about Jews in disparaging ways when discussing situations that have no connection to Israel.

On Feb. 4, Cebada said, “Well, supposedly Jewish interests control the media in this country, there’s even a book written by a Jew that says that Jews control Hollywood … the media’s controlled by Jews, so we only get the news they want us to hear.”

The hosts regularly call Bernard Madoff “that Jewish scam artist.” Villaraigosa is constantly excoriated for supporting Israel and for “dancing around with a yarmulke on his head,” apparently referring to the September 2007 Chabad telethon, when L.A.’s mayor danced the hora while wearing a kippah.

On Feb. 4, a caller named Jeremy asked the hosts why they “keep repeating this line about Villaraigosa dancing around with a yarmulke on his head? Why is that a cause of consternation for you?”

Tlaloc answered that Villaraigosa was elected “on the backs of Mexicans and hasn’t done anything to help them. Instead, he’s gone to Israel and is complicit in the genocide that’s happening in Gaza.” Jeremy again asked why the yarmulke bothered them so much, and Cebada abruptly ended the phone conversation.

KPFK was founded in 1959 as the second radio station of the Pacifica Foundation. According to its Web site, KPFK is “blessed with an enormous transmitter … [It is] the most powerful of the Pacifica stations and indeed is the most powerful public radio station in the Western United States.”

There is no public record of how many listeners “La Causa” attracts. One KPFK host told The Journal that he suspects that not even KPFK knows for sure. What is known is that KPFK’s transmitter on Mount Wilson and another in Santa Barbara give the station a wide FM reach.

KPFK does not get money from advertising. It receives some funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is partially supported with government funds, and from its listeners, as well as foundations. It normally has three fund drives each year.

The station’s official mission statement says that it seeks to promote “a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; [and] … to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms.”

“La Causa” would not be the first KPFK show to test the boundaries of the station’s stated mission.

In early 1992, a 30-hour marathon, “Afrikan Liberation Weekend,” drew a response from the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] after an on-air host accused Jews of being major perpetrators of the slave trade and Jewish doctors of inventing AIDS in order to infect blacks.

In 1994, the ADL, Hillel Foundation and the Center for the Study of Popular Culture charged two other KPFK programs, “Freedom Now” and “Family Tree,” with making “slanderous and anti-Semitic attacks.” The host on “Freedom Now” accused the ADL of, among other things, founding the Ku Klux Klan.

In the Los Angeles Times, David Lehrer, then-ADL regional director, is quoted as saying, “We hope that KPFK and Pacifica will fulfill a positive and constructive role in our community and not be a vehicle for the dissemination of hate.”

KPFK’s general manager at that time, Clifford U. Roberts, cancelled the two programs, saying that they “were using language … counter to our mission.”

So the question remains, do the sentiments expressed on “La Causa” represent a larger disconnect between the Jewish and Latino communities?

Gustavo Arellano, author of the nationally syndicated column, “¡Ask a Mexican!” and a host of a KPFK show called, “4 O’Clock Tuesdays,” acknowledged that there’s “always been an anti-Semitic subconscious streak in the minds of Hispanics, and we can thank the Torquemada-era Catholic Church for hardwiring that into our minds. … But I don’t think the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exacerbates it.

“Most Latinos care much more about politics in their home countries or in the United States than what happens in the Middle East,” Arellano said, adding, “I’d say, through an informal survey, that most Mexicans don’t like Israel’s actions against Palestinians, but they also don’t approve of [Palestinians’] suicide bombings or anti-Semitic bile. Unlike Cebada … most Latinos can distinguish between Judaism and the military actions of Israel.”

Many in the Jewish and Latino communities have worked to create bonds between the two. Among those is Dina Siegel Vann, director of the American Jewish Committee’s [AJC] Latino and Latin American Institute, who works to forge political alliances with the Latino community, especially when dealing with domestic issues like education, health care and education. She believes relationships between Latinos and Jews have “gotten better” as a result of outreach by AJC, as well as other Jewish organizations, including the Israeli government.

Siegel Vann acknowledged, however, that at recent meetings of the Congreso Latino (Latino Congress), which brings together leaders of national Latino organizations, she’s felt a change in attitude. She said that “the atmosphere has been a little more radical … in terms of U.S.-Venezuela relations and the Middle East.”

Arturo Carmona, executive director of COFEM — a Mexican American organization that provides the Latino community with public policy advocacy, as well as educational and cultural programs — said that among Latinos, especially during the last few months, the Middle East has been “talked about at home among families. You see pictures of people dying in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and we talk about it….”

Carmona, whose organization works cooperatively with ADL, said that what’s needed in the Latino community is a “greater awareness of the issues. Otherwise, I sense that people form negative opinions about [Israel].”

Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, said that many Latinos “think there should be a broader dialogue among the various players in the Middle East…. They want to make sure that the Palestinian side is heard…. In other words, let’s have a fuller and more balanced discourse.”

KPFK is decidedly and proudly progressive, but when other KPFK programs take Israel to task, they seem careful not to criticize the Jewish community or to imply — as callers to “La Causa” repeatedly do — that there are Jews hatching nefarious plots aimed at world domination.

Over the years, KPFK has been a strong advocate of minority rights, women’s rights and other liberal causes. Not surprisingly, the station has had many Jewish subscribers and listeners, like Sara Elena Loaiza.

Loaiza is both Latina and Jewish and has spent much of her life bridging the two communities through Latino Consultants, which she founded in 1995 to represent a wide variety of Latino clients and interests. Asked to listen to back episodes of “La Causa” on KPFK’s Web site, her response was that of someone who felt betrayed by an old friend.

“It’s disheartening because we’re supporters of KPFK,” Loaiza said. “We’re supporters for a lot of reasons — for their environmental coverage — they’ve got a lot of interesting programs we’ve supported in the past.

“But [“La Causa”] crosses a line. It absolutely does,” she said. “While I understand that this program is trying to be as raw as possible, it’s hurtful…. It’s like, ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing. This is KPFK and I’m hearing this?’”