Homeland Security officials discuss protest violence with Jewish leaders

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top Department of Homeland Security officials spoke with Jewish leaders concerned about violence at rallies and demonstrations connected to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Speakers on the conference call Monday, organized by the Secure Community Network, the security arm of national Jewish umbrella organizations, included DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure Protection William Flynn.

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There were 200 Jewish officials on the call, SCN said.

“While the majority of protests have been peaceful, pro-Israeli demonstrators in Boston and Los Angeles were physically assaulted by anti-Israeli protesters this past week, and synagogues in Paris have been attacked by violent protesters,” the statement said.

“SCN discussed the security implications of operations in Gaza on Jewish communities both domestically and worldwide, and reviewed security protocols for planned rallies and demonstrations in support of Israel,” it said.

At least three Jews were taken to the hospital in Paris as a result of clashes that erupted Sunday between the protesters and young Jewish men who guarded the Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue. The rioters briefly besieged the synagogue, trapping the worshippers inside, until they were dispersed by police.

In Los Angeles, four people were arrested in Los Angeles over the weekend, allegedly for wading into a pro-Israel demonstration brandishing sticks.

Separately, the Anti-Defamation League published an alert Monday “encouraging heightened vigilance” for Jewish institutions and synagogues and “recommending that institutions take steps to enhance their security and connect with law enforcement.”