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#ClosetheCamps: L.A.’s Jewish Community Protests to ‘Stop Caging of Human Beings’ on Tisha B’Av in Downtown

3:31 PM PDT on August 12, 2019

Bend the Arc, a movement of progressive Jews who stand for justice and equality, worked in partnership with immigrant-justice allies to protest the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown yesterday. The protests aimed to shine a light on America’s current tragedy: the inhuman treatment of immigrants by the Trump administration. 

Yesterday was also in remembrance of Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish Calendar beginning at sundown on Saturday, August 10 and ending at sundown on Sunday, August 11. It’s a day of collective mourning to mark the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the wickedness placed on the Jewish Community’s refugee ancestors. 

In 2019, the saddest day also marks the day where Jews around the United States held #CloseTheCamps rallies to protest cruelty that the Trump Administration has bestowed upon immigrant communities, like the one in downtown L.A. The event yesterday was led by Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, Ph.D, a long-time social justice activist

Today we took Tisha b'Av to the streets to turn our frief into resistance. The Jewish community said: "No More Camps!" #DefundHate @bendthearc_sca @jewishaction @ShtiblMinyan @IKAR_LA @CHIRLA

— (((Aryeh Cohen))) (@IrMiklat) August 11, 2019

L.A. Taco briefly spoke on the phone with Rabbi Salem Pearce, Director of Organizing for T’ruah, on the rallies held throughout the United States to find out more about their actions. 

“T’ruah and a number of other national justice organizations encourage communities around the country to put on ‘Close the Camps’ events outside ICE facilities to bring attention to the immigration atrocities happening not just on our border but locally,” Rabbi Pearce stated.

The protest in Downtown LA was overall peaceful, except for a man in Trump-supporting gear showed up with a bullhorn and obnoxiously shouted, “Shame on all of you”. 

The persecution of Jews has unfortunately been a considerable part of their history. Anti-Semitic hate speech still pops up in America on our train stations and online forums. In the last month, Swastikas have been painted on Jewish-owned food trucks and dorm rooms. It’s no surprise that given the continued antisemitism, Jews intend to protect and fight for today’s immigrants and stand against the overcrowded detention centers, migrant raids, and America’s Trump administration that intends on increasing raids despite the outcry. 

“The inspiration is the Jewish Holiday of Tish B’Av, a day of mourning the catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people. We can’t look at the catastrophes that are happening right in front of us without connecting them to our stories.”

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