Five Takeaways from The Adas Debacle

The Adas debacle should disabuse any wishful thinking that the summer will cool anti-Israel passions on the campuses.
June 24, 2024

Part of my work over the years at the Simon Wiesenthal Center is to be the intake person for plenty of bad news. In just the last few days, we have seen Jewish parents beset upon at a Brooklyn 5th grade graduation, shots fired at a beloved falafel store in Montreal (following two other shootings targeting Jewish schools in Montreal). On Sunday morning came word that ISIS had launched simultaneous attacks in Dagestan, Russia against a Church—where the pastor had his throat slit and a synagogue was burnt to the ground. Thank G-d no Jews were in shul at the time, but over a dozen police were killed or wounded.

Against that backdrop, I made my way to Adas Torah Sunday late morning, home to hundreds of Orthodox Jews where Angelinos from across the Westside were invited to an Israeli Real Estate Seminar, similar to ones that had been held in Brooklyn, New York, Teaneck New Jersey and Shaare Tzedek Synagogue in the Valley. In each of those gatherings, pro-Hamas protesters showed up to threaten and demonize local lovers of Zion. I expected no less but experienced more than I bargained for.

Over the last 4 ½ decades, I have come to trust and admire the LADP. They have always done their best to protect our community, come hell or high water. Through riots and Covid and defunding, they held the line.

Tragically, their deployment outside Pico was not up to the challenge. The pro-Hamas forces which included virulent Code Pink were allowed to congregate close to the entrance of Adas from both east and west sidewalks as well all on Pico Blvd as well separated only by parked Magen Am vehicles.

Here are the words of a fellow member of the Young Israel of Century City who describes the scene as many of us experienced it:

The scene outside Adas at 12:45 PM today was chaotic and dangerous.  LAPD seemed to be in react mode vs prevent mode.  Standard protocols that we have all seen and experienced at rallies to protect freedom of assembly did not appear to be implemented.  Here are some thoughts based on what I saw first-hand.

I couldn’t help but be saddened/scared by what appeared to be an unprepared set of LAPD officers.

1. Clearly defined areas for “assembly” by different groups in two different areas were not established
2. Pico traffic became blocked organically and become dangerous…
3. Anti-Israel protesters came ‘ready’ with means for escalation (sprays, ski googles) and seemingly walked around freely and antagonistically amidst the mixed crowd (again, defined areas for assembly could have made it easier on law enforcement and easier on those assembling)
4. Fisticuffs broke out in different spots in a two-block area and LAPD seemed on their heels, and then they intervened with greater force that could have been avoided had they been more proactive from the get-go
5. LAPD did not have enough of a presence at 12:45 . . . but this changed when I walked out of Adas back on Pico at 2:45
6.  The sidewalk area right in front of the shul was controlled by protesters, not by law enforcement – – why didn’t law enforcement move the ‘line’ away from the shul entrance?
7.  Once sprays were used by protesters and things escalated, why wasn’t the entire thing shut down?
8.  When I walked south to my car, I was surprised to see that the entire ‘event’ had moved directly onto our residential streets . . . and there was ZERO law enforcement there…”

Meanwhile, as if responding to an unseen cue—some Jews were pepper- sprayed. I stopped to help one Persian gentleman who was on all fours trying to deal with the pain nd shock. With the help of some volunteers, we calmed him down. When he asked, “where was G-d?”, a stranger responded “G-d is testing us” …

Unfortunately one of my eyes also suffered from the spray and I rushed home to irrigate the eye, returning at 2:30 to see that the still chaotic scene that had shifted east to Crest Drive and Pico…

Bottom lime

1. Thank G-d for Magen Am who maintained professionalism throughout. Without them, I believe the Synagogue could have been easily breached by our enemies.

2. The LAPD was either not prepared or are under orders to not intervene or take full control and apparently did not arrest people. Sounds eerily familiar to other battlegrounds on Los Angeles campuses in recent weeks. If these are the current orders of the day they must be challenged and changed.

3. What we experienced outside Adas was no mere hate crime but domestic terrorism. It is high time that both Homeland Security and the FBI start connecting the dots, wherever they may lead.

4. Our community must send a unified message to Mayor Bass and the City Council along with the LAPD that we demand they fulfill their obligations to ensure the safety of us taxpaying proud ZIONISTS.

5. As I told the LAPD officer in charge—going forward NO pro-Hamas protesters or their ilk must ever be allowed to prance openly in front of our synagogues or schools and endanger our children’s welfare. If Los Angeles needs more cops, more training, let’s make sure they get it with the help of our elected officials locally and from Governor Newsom and the State Legislature in Sacramento.

6. The Adas debacle should disabuse any wishful thinking that the summer will cool anti-Israel passions on the campuses. The Jew-hatred we face is well planned, coordinated, and has already reached the gates of two Jewish schools in the Valley just last week.

Like it or not, we have to be prepared for the long haul and plan and act accordingly. Our enemies clearly have. No panic, just smart Jewish action.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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