April 1, 2020

LA City Councilmember David Ryu Issues Resolution, Letter Against Anti-Semitism

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Councilmember David Ryu speaks onstage during the Stories From The Front Line charity program at the Ebell of Los Angeles on February 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu introduced a resolution on Jan. 22 calling for action against anti-Semitism. The resolution also called for the FBI to create an anti-Semitism task force.

The resolution states that Los Angeles has the second-highest Jewish population in the country and the fifth largest in the world, and that “the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) most recent Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States recorded 1,879 acts in 2018, with a dramatic increase in physical assaults, including the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a wave of anti-Semitic robocalls targeting Jewish schools, JCCs [Jewish Community Centers] and synagogues, and a significant number of incidents at K-12 schools and college campuses.”

The resolution also notes that there was a 21% increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in California from 2017 to 2018 and that the ADL “has linked the growth of anti-Semitism to a global white supremacist ideology that has fueled the rise in hate crimes in both the United States and countries across Europe.”

The resolution echoes the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s call for the FBI to establish a task force, “to address the unprecedented surge in anti-Semitic assaults and violent acts against the Jewish community.”

Ryu also released an open letter addressing anti-Semitism with signatures from 20 organizations in the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including the Korean American Coalition, Organization of Chinese Americans – Greater Los Angeles, and the Asian Pacific and Policy Council.

“An increasing number of anti-Semitic hate crimes in our city and our country calls on all of us to respond,” the letter states. “As leaders in the AAPI community, we recognize that the times are dangerous, and demand that we stand together and do more to fight against these hateful acts.”

The letter echoes the resolution’s call for the FBI to establish a task force and for increased resources for synagogues and Jewish organizations.

“This coalition stands to let perpetrators know that the over a million and a half AAPI Angelenos will help combat the attacks of our Jewish neighbors,” the letter states. “In addition, we aim to work even harder across our City to teach awareness and understanding in order to stop fueling the hate that leads to these heinous crimes.”

Ryu also said in his letter, “The AAPI community is no stranger to hate and discrimination. I think we feel a shared call to root out hate in all its forms, to protect our diverse cultural fabric, and to stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors facing unprecedented attacks. An attack against one of us is an attack against us all.”

Jewish groups praised Ryu’s actions.

“We thank Councilmember Ryu and the AAPI communities’ support for the Jewish community in this difficult time,” ADL Los Angeles Senior Associate Regional Director Natan Pakman said in a statement. “We join this call for additional resources to protect organizations and houses of worship, greater communication and information sharing on security threats, and solidarity across the city against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper similarly said in a statement, “We are very grateful to Councilmember Ryu and the leadership of the AAPI community who are expressing solidarity with the Jewish Community at a time when it is experiencing unprecedented levels of violent anti-Semitic hate crimes and rhetoric. We especially appreciate that Councilmember Ryu is adding his voice and leadership to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s call for the FBI to create a special task force on anti-Semitism, to try to take direct action against this rising menace.”