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Activists protest Downey Mayor’s support of Israel

During the May 25h, 2021 meeting of the Downey City Council, around two dozen pro-Palestine protesters rallied in opposition to Mayor Claudia Frometa, a staunch Israel supporter.

The Mayor had voiced support for Israel’s policies as early as March 2020, when she attended the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She wrote on Facebook at the time, “This is the most important bipartisan conference that reminds us we must continue to support and strengthen our alliance with the State of Israel. A strong Israel makes America and our communities like Downey more secure.”

Her 2020 comments, which were made as the pandemic began, did not raise much scrutiny until May 2021, when Frometa decided to change her profile picture to include a banner saying “I stand with Israel.”

Simultaneously, she made a statement in support of the recent bombing campaign against Gaza, saying to her pro-AIPAC allies in local government, “I am so proud to work with you each year to lobby Congress to fund [Israel’s military].”

Frometa’s comments became a rallying cry for activist Patty S. Chavez, who organized a protest together with Todos Somos Uno Los Angeles and the Southeast L.A. Peoples’ Coalition.

In a press release sent to Political Life, Chavez stated “Just like Frometa wants poor people and the homeless evicted from Downey, she wants the Palestinians evicted from their homeland. In protesting the Mayor, we demand justice for all oppressed people!”

The protesters began at Downey City Hall, just as the Council was set to meet, and proceeded to Porto’s Bakery, where they received many honks in support. The protesters then returned to City Hall, where they yelled various chants, including “Hey Claudia, Free Palestine!” and “Todos Somos! Palestina!”

During public comment session, various callers spoke out against Frometa. A caller identifying as Rebecca Canterero said to Frometa, “You have made some statements that you support Israel, but are there not any Palestinians that live in the City of Downey?”

Another caller, Perla Vazquez, said “I would like to say that I find it quite disgusting, the refusal of the Mayor to condemn the actions of Israel. We have to remember that children are being murdered.”

Frometa is not known to have commented on Israel since the protest.

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