May 18, 2024

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Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, appearing at a Los Angeles re-election fundraiser tonight, each addressed the Israel-Gaza war protests that have highlighted a split on the left.

About two dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators were outside the event, held at the home of entertainment attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie and Leslie Lurie, and some of the protesters chanted “Free Palestine” and held a banner that read “No pride in genocide,” according to a pool report. Demonstrators also threw fake blood in front of the home, and placed their red handprints on the ground, as they have at other protests.

Inside, with about 140 people in attendance, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie introduced Emhoff and told the crowd, “At this heart breaking moment when antisemitism is rapidly gaining traction along with Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia, it is so reassuring to know that the Second Gentleman understands what many of us are experiencing.”

Per the pool report, Emhoff, who is the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president, talked about the conversations he has been having amid rising antisemitism and hate speech.

“You saw it outside walking in here today,” he said, a reference to the protesters. “This is the times that we’re living in right now.”

As she was readying to speak, Harris was interrupted by someone at the event who called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the pool. The vice president paused for a bit, and said, “We live in a democracy. This is a very difficult time and it’s important that we all agree that people should have the freedom to have their voices heard.”

The event raised nearly $500,000, according to organizers. In addition to the Gilbert-Luries, the co-hosts included Skip Brittenham and Heather Thomas, John Emerson and Kimberly Marteau Emerson, Sam Fischer and Leah Fischer, Reginald Hudlin and Chrisette Hudlin, Allan Mutchnik and Nicole Mutchnik, and Michael Rotenberg and Shannon Mabrey Rotenberg.

Tickets for the event started at $500 per person for young professionals and rose to $1,000 per person for the “supporter” level. Those who wrote or raised $10,000 were as co-hosts, and had access to the photo line. Co-chairs were those who wrote or raised $25,000, also with access to a photo line, per the invite.

The fundraiser raised money for the Biden Victory Fund, with money split between the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state committees.

The president is expected to trek to Southern California by the end of the year for a fund-raising swing.

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