Pompeo scheduled to speak at ‘We Are Israel’ rally in El Cajon; protest expected – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Posted By on July 28, 2021


Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and secretary of state under Donald Trump, will be the keynote speaker Sunday at an event in El Cajon billed as a rally against antisemitism.

A slate of conservatives and self-described Zionists are also expected to speak at the We Are Israel rally, including radio host Larry Elder, a Republican running in the California gubernatorial recall election, and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.

Mike Slater, the conservative host of a weekday talk radio show on AM760, will host the event, planned for 3 p.m. at the Prescott Promenade off East Main Street.

Eli Ben-Moshe, chairman of Shield of David, the nonprofit that organized Sundays rally, said its intent is to unite Jews and non-Jews together against antisemitism. He said more Christians than Jews are expected to attend.

A rally and march protesting the event is scheduled for 2 p.m., with protest organizers saying Shield of David and the We Are Israel rally falsely conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Israel sentiment with antisemitism. The San Diego chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement is leading the protest along with roughly a dozen other co-sponsors and endorsers, including the San Diego chapter of the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace.

The events message conflates Israel with all Jews, an antisemitic trope in and of itself that attempts to silence any voices that criticize Israels ongoing colonization and apartheid policies, read a statement from the groups opposing the rally.

Online, members of the right-wing group Defend East County have said theyll be in El Cajon to counter the protest march, sparking concerns about the possibility of clashes between the groups.

I think that would be wrong, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said Friday. I hope they dont do that.

El Cajon police Lt. Jeremiah Larson wrote in an email that his department is planning to have a significant police presence in and around both events.

He said police are expecting about 1,000 attendees at the We Are Israel rally, and that its organizers submitted a request for a permit. As of Thursday night, Larson did not know how many protesters were expected, though he said he was trying to contact the organizing groups.

As with all scheduled events, our goal is for a safe event for all involved and in the surrounding areas, Larson wrote. The rally in the Promenade, and the counter rally, will both be closely monitored. If there is an indication any criminal activity may occur, we will have officers available to respond accordingly.

Shield of David became a federally recognized nonprofit in 2020, according to tax records. Ben-Moshe and the organizations CEO, Brian Blacher, both describe themselves as Zionists and said the rally is in support of Judeo-Christian values.

Ben-Moshe and Blacher said they started Shield of David to combat antisemitic attacks through education on college campuses. They are trying to educate people against the false narrative that Israel is an apartheid state, Blacher said. Earlier this year, both Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group BTselem released reports calling Israel an apartheid state.

Jeanine Erikat, a leading member of the local Palestinian Youth Movement chapter, said her group and others were planning to protest because Zionism is rooted in White supremacy ... and a settler-colonial ideology. She said Shield of David doesnt have a presence in El Cajon, and it is a provocation to hold the event in an area with a large Middle Eastern and Islamic population thats often called Little Baghdad.

It really feels like this is a response to the rise of pro-Palestinian support, Erikat said.

The nearby East County city of Santee experienced two high-profile racist and/or antisemitic incidents last year. In May 2020, a shopper wore a Ku Klux Klan hood into a Santee store. Less than a week later, a couple wore Swastikas affixed to their facemasks. The husband claimed to sheriffs investigators that his Swastika was meant as a protest against mask regulations, but a review of his Facebook page showed it was filled with anti-Black, White supremacist and antisemitic postings.

The rally also comes days after John T. Earnest, 22, pleaded guilty to murder and hate crime charges in the shooting at Chabad of Poway that killed one congregant and injured three others on the last day of Passover in 2019.

Originally posted here:
Pompeo scheduled to speak at 'We Are Israel' rally in El Cajon; protest expected - The San Diego Union-Tribune

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