Posted: Monday, September 12, 2016 – 9:07 PM
(CNS) – Stanley Sheinbaum, an influential liberal figure, fundraiser and peace activist who once orchestrated a meeting between Palestinian movement leader Yasser Arafat and Jewish American leaders and played a key role in ousting LAPD Chief Daryl Gates, died today at his Brentwood home. He was 96.
The son of a New York leather goods manufacturer, Sheinbaum was a major player in various turning points throughout the international, national and local history of the past half-century.
His earliest high-profile role came in the late 1950s, when he worked with journalist Robert Scheer to expose the CIA’s connections to a Michigan State University program tasked with advising the government of South Vietnam.
He was also a major fundraiser for — as well as the face of — a defense fund for Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.
Sheinbaum was also responsible for organizing a group of Jewish American leaders to meet with Arafat to persuade the Palestine Liberation Organization leader to disavow terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist. That initial meeting eventually led to Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shaking hands at the White House in 1993.
In Los Angeles, Sheinbaum made his mark on the Police Commission, when he joined the panel just after the police beating of Rodney King.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times that Sheinbaum walked the streets of South Los Angeles during the rioting that followed the King beating, at one point stepping in to calm down a tense encounter between protesters and police.
While on the commission, Sheinbaum led the effort to drive out Gates, the police chief at the time, who was criticized for his handling of the King beating.
Sheinbaum also ran twice for Congress unsuccessfully, and lent his fundraising skills to various liberal causes, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was among those who publicly mourned Sheinbaum’s passing.
“Stanley Sheinbaum embodied what it means to be an Angeleno — giving freely of his time, wisdom and resources to the causes of justice, equality, peace and democracy,” Garcetti said in a statement.
“He loved Los Angeles, and was a tireless advocate whose courageous stances breathed life into monumental change on both the local and global stages — from helping to guide our police department during some of its most difficult days, to clearing the way for historic Middle East peace talks and pushing some of California’s top universities to divest from apartheid-era South Africa,” Garcetti said.
He said Sheinbaum’s “legacy is defined by his generosity, integrity and incredible heart for service, and his work will forever inspire everyone who believes in bringing people together to transform our world for the better.”