Local 11’s Links to Anti-Israel Activism

Anti-Israel activism seems to be alive and well at Unite Here Local 11 and its affiliated groups.

In Jan. 2024, Unite Here Local 11 rang in the new year by allowing the Democratic Socialists of America to host an anti-Israel activist at its Phoenix union hall. The activist in question – Dr. Mohammad Riyad – had promoted an “All Out for Palestine” protest in the days after the Hamas terrorist attack instead of condemning it. Riyad later praised Aaron Bushnell for setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy.

Unfortunately, this example is not the only anti-Israel link that extends back to Unite Here Local 11.

Union affiliates and front groups, including Better Neighbors LA, The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, and the Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) all have employees and leaders in their ranks that have been vocally anti-Israel.

In Nov. 2023, Layal Bata – a former representative of Local 11 and now a research and policy analyst for the union’s Better Neighbors LA coalition – co-authored an opinion piece titled, “No pride in genocide.” The piece openly discusses “challenging Zionist propaganda’s initial hold on public opinion.”

“Despite censorship and a coordinated backlash by the U.S. and European establishment in support of Israel, we are seeing the largest anti-war protests since the War in Iraq—challenging Zionist propaganda’s initial hold on public opinion.” – Quote from “No Pride in Genocide”

LAANE, a group that shares the same address as Local 11 – and which union co-president Kurt Petersen is on the board of directors – has several board members with blatantly anti-Israel views.

Eddie Iny (a LAANE director) “loved” a post on Oct. 9, 2023, that openly called for “ending the occupation” and made no mention of the terrorist attack. Just days later, Iny would repost a message claiming Gaza was experiencing a “genocide.”

Neidi Dominguez (another LAANE director) also reposted a social media comment on Oct. 16, 2023, that called for ending the armament of Israel and to “stop the complicity with Israel’s crimes.”

CLUE Justice – another front group for Unite Here Local 11 – also shares the same address as the union and is also staffed by several anti-Israel advocates.

Stephen Jn-Marie and Adam Overton – both listed as faith rooted organizers for CLUE – have both spoken out against Israel on social media. Overton reposted a comment comparing Israel to Nazis and Jn-Marie seemingly praised Aaron Bushnell for committing suicide.

(Jn-Marie goes by createjustice_ on Instagram)

OCCORD – a group where Local 11 co-president Ada Briceño was previously chair – also appears to have an anti-Israel advocate serving in a leadership role. An account that appears to belong to OCCORD Director Carolina Sarmiento reposted a comment on “Palestinian liberation” just one day after Oct. 7, 2023. Sarmiento also reposted a comment accusing Israel of “systematically” assassinating journalists in Gaza.

Employees and members of Unite Here Local 11 should know the truth about the union and its front groups’ anti-Israel activism.