Pro-Palestinian Protesters Vandalize Los Angeles War Veteran Cemetery

Pro-Palestinian protesters at Los Angeles National Cemetery (KeyNewsNetwork/Screenshot via YouTube)

Pro-Palestinian protesters defaced the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Sunday, a national burial space where more than 80,000 veterans of World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and more, are laid to rest.

Protesters spray-painted “Free Gaza” on the entrance to the memorial and chanted “long live Palestine,” “there is only one solution,” “from the river from the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Biden, Biden, you’re a liar,” according to video footage of the event. Hundreds of protesters held signs that read “ceasefire now,” “stop bombing Gaza,” “end the occupation now,” “stop the genocide,” and more. One sign read “Zionist = Nazi.”

The protest also shut down Wilshire Boulevard, which is between Interstate 405 and Glendon Avenue, on Sunday afternoon.

“More proof that the people who hate #Israel, also hate America,” California congressman Brad Sherman said on X. “Here, at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in my district, they deface a cemetery for those who gave their lives to end slavery and protect the world from fascism.”

Beneath the spray-painted “Free Gaza” statement on the cemetery’s entrance is a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address — “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan” — which is also the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’s motto. The statement affirms “the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war and to provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield,” the department says on its website.

“We are demonstrating here to mark three months of the genocide in Gaza, which has taken the lives of 22,000 plus souls in 92 days,” one masked protester who also wore sunglasses told Key News Network. “What we’re standing in front of right now is the federal building, which is the closest monument to the United States federal government, which currently is sending $3 billion a year to support Israel’s genocidal campaign on the people of Palestine. That’s your money going into weapons of war to kill my family.”

Pro-Palestinian activists have called on the Biden administration to withdraw support for Israel after Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 Israelis on October 7. Biden has expressed solidarity with Israel since Hamas’s attack but has also in recent weeks criticized the scope of the Israeli military’s offensive operation in Gaza.

Protesters stateside have joined together at various other U.S. landmarks to decry U.S. support for Israel, including in Washington, D.C., where protesters planned to storm a Holocaust museum — the event was canceled after social media outcry — and in New York City, where protesters disrupted New Years Eve celebrations in Manhattan. In London, protesters calling for a cease-fire blocked a bridge outside of the British Parliament on Saturday.

Fourteen Medal of Honor recipients are buried at the Los Angeles cemetery, as are more than 100 Buffalo soldiers, African American soldiers who served in black regiments during westward expansion in the 1800s. At its founding in 1888, the memorial cared for “disabled Union veterans of the Civil War,” according to the National Parks Service, and was dedicated in 1889 as a cemetery for the Pacific Branch National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

California penal code forbids the effacement of any tomb, monument, memorial, or marker in a cemetery, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail.

Haley Strack is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism and a recent graduate of Hillsdale College.
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