UPDATE 1/24/24: Dr. Jirair Ratevosian, a candidate for CA-30 who did not participate in the Jewish Democratic Council of America forum, has called for a ceasefire in the war between Hamas and Israel. “Just like the ethnic cleansing that took place this past September in my homeland, Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), the international community should never stand for the killing of innocent people — just because of who they are — or just because they happen to be in the line of fire,” Ratevosian said in a statement. “I am proud to be the first major candidate for Congress in the Los Angeles CA-30 race to call for a ceasefire. I’m also proud to have been endorsed by Peace Action and to receive the support of Democrats for Israel Los Angeles. I call on the Biden Administration to stop supporting an indiscriminate military campaign and seriously consider putting conditions on any future military aid related to this war. To be clear, I support continued targeted military operations to defeat Hamas, aligned with international humanitarian law to minimize civilian deaths. I also call for Hamas to release all the remaining hostages and for all parties to return to negotiating a diplomatic solution to bring enduring peace — and that starts with a two-state solution.”
Six of the candidates running to be West Hollywood’s representative in Congress in March took part in a forum this week held by the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) and its Southern California chapter. Former L.A. Councilmember and City Attorney Mike Feuer, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin, State Sen. Anthony Portantino, Ben Savage and WeHo Councilmember Sepi Shyne answered a wide range of questions intended to gauge their support of values important to Jewish Democrats. All six candidates expressed support for a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, and all denounced the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
What is your view of rising anti-Semitism in the United States and if elected to congress what measures would you take to combat anti-Semitism?
This is an issue that I have been discussing with my colleagues in the Jewish caucus literally every day. The amount of anti-Semitism that we are seeing across California and across the nation is reaching levels that I wouldn’t have dreamed we would have seen. This is something that has existed for a long time, obviously, it’s historic, but it’s been on the rise for a number of years. Certainly, during the Trump years, we saw that kind of open anti-Semitism from the far right normalized, and in some cases, openly espoused by Republican leaders. And now we’re seeing anti-Semitism really coming at us from all sides. But I’d say at the core, there are a couple of things. There’s extremism, which is something in any direction it’s coming from, we have to be very guarded and careful about. But clearly, the old anti-Semitic underpinnings are still alive. Anti-Semitism of the type that makes people believe that the media is controlled by the Jews, that it’s Jewish money that causes politicians to support Israel, that kind of classic anti-Semitism. We have got to do so much to combat it.