Nearly a dozen billboards carrying messages denouncing antisemitism have sprung up across Los Angeles County, with organizers hoping that their messages of love can counter the spread of hate speech.
"With the current and frightening rise in antisemitism here in Los Angeles and around the country, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles in partnership with OUTFRONT Media, has today launched a citywide billboard campaign to counter the spread of hate speech with the spreading of true love speech and ancient Jewish wisdom," said a statement from Aram Goldberg, Vice President of Public Relations with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
The billboards debuted early Thursday morning at 10 different locations, including:
- La Brea Avenue and 23rd Street in Los Angeles;
- Pico Boulevard and Hauser Boulevard in Los Angeles;
- Ventura Boulevard and De Soto Avenue in Woodland Hills;
- Ventura Boulevard and Otis Avenue in Tarzana;
- Venice Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard in Venice;
- Venice Boulevard and Jasmine Avenue in Palms;
- Sepulveda Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles;
- Burbank Boulevard and Van Nuys Boulevard in Van Nuys;
- Ventura Boulevard and Winnetka Avenue in Woodland Hills;
- Pico Boulevard and Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles.
The billboards carried messages like: "Love is the most powerful force in the universe," "Change your thoughts and you'll change the world," and "Any racism diminishes all of us."
"The Jewish response to darkness in all its forms is to be a light," said Rob Goldenberg, with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. "When all this darkness started spreading across this community, we were searching for a way for us to share some positivity."
The billboards were designed in response to a rampant amount of antisemitism that has occurred across the United States, and specifically in Los Angeles, where demonstrators heldover the 405 Freeway, and most recently, in Beverly Hills.
"According to the recent 2021 LA County Hate Crime Report, when it comes to religious-based crimes, the Jewish community has been targeted in 74% of the cases," the Jewish Federation said. "The impact on a community, feeling increased concern for their sense of safety and security, is real."
With Los Angeles being home to the second-largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, local leaders have taken a stand against a population that has been frequently targeted by hate and conspiracies, including the notions that the Jewish started COVID and that they "control the Hollywood entertainment and media industries."
A report conducted by the foundation found that nearly three-quarters of Jewish people living in L.A. feel concerned about the state of antisemitism in the world, with one-in-five of those people indicating that they had personally experienced hate in the last year alone.
"To combat antisemitism, we have decided to respond not with anger, or hate, but by spreading both awareness of the problem and an ingredient often found missing from any reaction to hate: LOVE," the statement read.
The debut of the billboard coincides with the Hanukkah holiday, which began on Sunday.
"The goal is for people to look up and see these and feel like they're everywhere," Goldenberg said. "As these catch one we'll be able to put more, and more, and more up so our signs of positivity and love outnumber those of hate."
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