HomeJanuary 2024Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

On December 12, 2023, I attended the Irvine City Council Meeting at which there was a very large delegation of pro-Palestinians who were there to urge the City Council to pass a Resolution condemning Israel for its attacks on Gaza. The pro-Palestinian delegation appeared to outnumber the Jewish delegation who opposed the Resolution. The Mayor decided that the Resolution was not going to be on the Agenda for that day’s Meeting but the Council was willing to hear the comments of both sides.
    There was a fairly heavy police presence in the Meeting Room.
    The pro-Palestinian protesters were initially quick to boo and shout at Jewish speakers and repeatedly chanted “Free Palestine” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” although  they were advised that such behavior would cause them to be removed. They continued shouting and chanting until the Council members got up and left the dais for half an hour.  Thereafter, instead of shouting and chanting, they waived Palestinian flags and held up sheets covered with red paint to simulate dead, bloodied bodies.
    In general, the pro-Palestinians were contentious, hostile and boisterous. My colleague tried to exit our row but because it was standing room only next to the rows of seats, she tripped when exiting and accidentally bumped into a pro-Palestinian man. His wife immediately started angrily accusing my colleague of intentionally assaulting her husband. Before she could go get a police officer, I turned to her and told her that we were both attorneys which shut her down but the exchange was ridiculous and uncalled for. Another pro-Palestinian woman started berating another friend who was with me merely because he applauded a Jewish speaker.  She asked a police officer to remove my friend for being “disruptive” but the officer declined to do so because the request was absurd.
    When one Irvine resident who said that she had been in the IDF years before started to speak and introduced herself, one pro- Palestinian protester started screaming that “No IDF soldiers should be allowed to speak.” That objection went nowhere.
    To their credit, three of the pro-Palestinian speakers did say that the hostages should be brought back to Israel.  All of the pro-Palestinian speakers were demanding a ceasefire,  for Israel to leave Gaza and for humanitarian aid to be given to Gazans.
    Many Jewish speakers complained that such a Resolution and giving the Palestinians such a platform was beyond the purview and jurisdiction of the Irvine City Council. The Mayor and Vice-Mayor proclaimed that they personally supported a ceasefire and that they would be looking into the City of Irvine providing humanitarian assistance to Gazans although I doubt that such aid is within the jurisdiction of Irvine’s City Council.
    When Jewish residents of Irvine denounced the explosion of antisemitism that started after October 7 and stated that they were afraid to put Menorahs in their windows for Hanukkah or to wear Stars of David, the pro-Palestinians who were standing behind me loudly stated “They always have to be the victims.”   There was no understanding of how the October 7 massacre and the explosion of antisemitism has affected Jews. These speakers were being mocked. As soon as a Jewish speakers time up was called, the pro-Palestinians shouted in unison “Time’s up” so that the speaker’s final words were drowned out.
    What was most striking was the denial of the October 7 atrocities that came from the pro-Palestinians. Although I had read that this was part of their modus operandi, it was very ugly to hear.  When a Jewish speaker referred to the babies burned in ovens, the pro-Palestinian protesters behind me screamed ”Liar, Liar! Where’s the evidence?” I turned around and calmly said that it’s not a lie and if you give me your email address, I will email you the evidence.  I received no response.
    One pro-Palestinian speaker stated that: “We’ve been hearing all day about the rapes, murders, massacres, burnings…” She then paused for a few seconds and continued: “We all know that the IDF does all these things.” They were clearly downplaying, if not outright denying,  the atrocities and the horror that has affected Israelis and Jews all over the world.  

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