Opinion: Responding To Israeli/Palestinian Hate In The Community And In Schools 

I have lived in Irvine for 43 years. I worked as an Orange County Adult Protective Services Social worker for over 25 years responding to and investigating allegations of abuse and neglect of seniors and disabled adults and offering support services to both the victims and the alleged abusers. In my experience, the best results for abuse investigations are obtained when the issues of both the victim and the alleged abusers are addressed.

I have never seen such hate and dissension in our once peaceful interracial and intercultural Irvine community.  I agree with the Council’s decision that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is an international issue and thus does not fall within Irvine’s decision-making jurisdiction. 

However, it should be noted that hate incidents that take place in the community, in schools, in public places, in homes, and in churches, synagogues, and mosques are City Issues that fall well within Irvine’s City Jurisdiction and must be addressed. The incidents should be investigated and support services offered to both the victims and abusers.  During the 2/27/24 City Council Meeting it was made abundantly clear by residents representing both the Israeli side and the Palestinian side that both communities refuse to meet and work together to create a peaceful resolution of their differences thus the issues of both sides should be addressed separately.

Conflict protestors will likely frequent City Council meetings to complain about hate incidents residents and school children are experiencing. Irvine thus should address the issue of reducing the number of hate incidents that take place within the city by means of developing programs and protocols for responding to hate incidents and developing programs that both provide consequences for hate action perpetrators and provide community support for hate action victims and perpetrators who are so upset by the international conflicts that they do not know where to turn to express their feelings of anger and fear for the safety and wellbeing of the people who are undergoing assault and deprivation.

Due to the expressed antipathy towards our City Council members by members of the public representing both sides of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, I recommend that the process begin with Irvine City Staff developing plans for addressing hate incidents related to international conflicts and/or cultural, religious and racial differences which are then submitted to the City Council for review and approval.

My suggested programs and protocols for responding to and giving consequences to hate incidents include:

  1. Program for reporting hate incidents. Assign collection and response to hate incident reports to the Irvine Police Department Community Response Team.
    1. Residents should be encouraged to report hate incidents to the Irvine Police.
    2. The Community Response team to take reports and keep statistics as to dates/times of incidents and types of incidents.
    3. Schools to be required to report hate incidents experienced by children at school.
    4. Community Response Team to respond by investigating hate incidents taking place both in the community and in schools by interviewing both victims and perpetrators.
  2. Irvine Police Department develop a protocol for issuing consequences for hate incident perpetrators: City to establish class programs for perpetrators that perpetrators are required to attend and complete by a specified date which address perpetrators’ international conflict concerns, feelings of fear and resentment stemming from the conflicts and the appropriate options for perpetrators to address their feelings and concerns.
  3. City to establish programs for both hate incident victims and perpetrators in schools.
  4. Community Response Team to set up 2  information tables in the City Hall lobby with both having big welcoming and supportive signs on easels with statements such as 1)“We Are Here To Help You”/ “Report Hate Incidents”. 2) “We Are Here To Support You”/”Support Services” during the work day and during City Council meetings.
    1. Table One: Where Community Response Team staff members take incident reports which will be submitted for investigation.
    2. Table Two: Where Community Response Team staff offers assistance to resident hate action victims and perpetrators, both children and adults.
      1. Staff managing the table should have related handouts to distribute including resource lists and souvenirs ( Irvine City Pens, bags, key rings)
      2. Counseling and various support services
        1. Support services for children and adults including counseling and support groups for both hate victims and people who have difficulty dealing with their emotions, fears, and experiences relating to international conflicts.
        2. Specialized social activities
          1. Ask residents what types of services they would like the city to provide.
  5. The Community Response Team should also routinely give hate incident reports to the City Council during the City Council meetings regarding the hate crime statistics taken, the actions taken against the perpetrators and the support given to both the victims and the perpetrators. The Community Response Team should develop programs that provide protocols for schools, churches, synagogues mosques, community businesses, and Irvine residents for educating the public as to how to avoid instigating hate incidents and how to respond to hate incidents without exacerbating the situation.
    1. Include discussions regarding the history of immigration to the United States including the fact that almost every person in the U.S. is an immigrant or related to an immigrant.
    2. Include discussions of the various reasons why people immigrate to the United States thus showing the commonality of the purpose for immigration between the various immigrant groups.

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