Jewish Groups in support of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón – Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Southern California, Los Angeles Jews 4 Black Lives and Never Again Action-Los Angeles – released a statement on March 17 opposing the Beverly Hills City Council’s adoption of a resolution of a vote of no confidence in Gascón.
“As organizations that represent the progressive Jewish community in Los Angeles, we condemn the Beverly Hills City Council’s attempt to undermine reforms to our criminal justice system that are backed by data, enjoy popular support and uphold the best values of restorative justice in our Jewish tradition,” the statement read. “We know that our current so-called criminal justice system is mired in racial inequity. While Los Angeles County’s population in 2019 was 70% white and less than 10% Black or African-American, the Los Angeles County’s jail population in 2019 was only 15% white and 29% African-American. This disproportionate representation is not unique to Los Angeles County, but with District Attorney Gascón’s reforms, our city can lead the nation in enacting policies to begin to right these historic wrongs and heal Black communities and other communities of color. We must address the root causes of crime – racism, inequality and poverty – rather than continuing to dehumanize, overpolice and cage Angelenos.”
Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, rabbi in residence of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Southern California, said Gascón’s reforms are “a living example of the Jewish values of justice that motivate our work to reform the criminal justice system, and of the moral society so many of our traditions seek to build.”
“As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, the old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind,” Cohen said. “Religious traditions of justice, including the Jewish tradition, are built on a foundation of restoration. In the Jewish tradition of t’shuvah or repentance, the offender admits their misdeed, declares their intention to never do it again, compensates the survivor and seeks out the survivor to ask forgiveness. At its core, the justice system should be based on this interaction between offender and survivor, and all manner of laws which complicate this (enhancements, three strikes, incarceration itself) negate the ability of the survivor, the offender and the community to be made whole again. We applaud the reforms that District Attorney Gascón has initiated because they are in keeping with the values of restorative justice.”
For information, visit socal.bendthearc.us and neveragainaction.com.