Jewish Solidarity for Boyle Heights

Recently Defend Boyle Heights has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism because they mounted a protest against Asher Caffe & Lounge, a gentrifying business in the neighborhood that does not serve the local community [1]. Because the coalition chose to call out the owner, Asher Shalom, an avid anti-immigrant Trump supporter who happens to be a Jewish immigrant from Israel, the press and developers who would like to flip real estate in Boyle Heights have been making claims of “anti-Semitic attacks” in order to detract the public from what Defend Boyle Heights is actually protesting: gentrification [2].

Real anti-Semitism is an abomination, and Boyle Heights has historically recognized it as such. The 1938 Anti-Nazi Parade was organized by numerous Jewish organizations, who represented the then-majority population of Boyle Heights [3]. The rally comprised a wider multi-ethnic coalition, with representatives from the Jewish community and the Black community, as well as the Chicano and Japanese communities—all of whom were redlined out of white neighborhoods in the process of racial segregation [4].

It is dangerous to make these false accusations, when actual anti-Semitic beliefs are peddled by Proud Boys and other white supremacist, neo-Nazi organizations who are becoming more active in Los Angeles as a result of Trump’s policies & popularity [5]. There is now a well-documented history of using these claims of anti-Semitism to veil legitimate protest against the violent apartheid of the Israeli state, and the US government has been making moves to squelch these forms of speech [6]. This is a false equivalency. Furthermore, the criticism of Asher and David Shalom – both fervent supporters of Donald Trump & his xenophobic policies – is not anti-Semitic. As a matter of fact, any boycott of Trump-supporting businesses is in line with Boyle Heights’s past activism, including radical Jewish leftist movements.

Defend Boyle Heights is a coalition that is combating oppressive structures that keep the most marginalized members of the society in their place—the struggle against displacement is also a struggle against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, imperialism, and settler colonialism. DBH stands in solidarity with Jewish anti-occupation organizations who recognize the settler colonial agenda of the Israeli government and condemns the role of the United States in denying the right of return to Palestinians. The role that capitalism works in displacement and dispossession is present in many struggles whether it’s in Bethlehem or Boyle Heights. DBH will not remain silent (or cordial) when a Trump supporter assumes they know the community or can provide benefits to a neighborhood when they support an openly white supremacist agenda via Trump’s policies on immigration, among other subjects.

Asher & David Shalom on Fox & Friends

[1] Adam Milstein, property developer & lobbyist calls DBH action “anti-semitic” – Personal Twitter account
[2] Business group calls boycott of Trump supporter, “anti-semitic” – website article
[3] The Anti-Nazi Parade, Boyle Heights (1938) – Barrio Boychik WordPress article
[4] The Historical Roots of Gentrification in Boyle Heights – KCET City Rising article
[5] The Proud Boys walk into a bar. A fight breaks out. Now a Los Angeles bar deals with the consequences    – L.A. Times article
[6] Criminalizing Critics of Israel: Congress Considers Sweeping Bills to Fine & Jail Backers of BDS – Democracy Now! Article