JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Sawant blames Trump after synagogue massacre, but holds anti-Semitic positions

Oct 29, 2018, 5:36 AM | Updated: 6:53 am
Kshama Sawant, May Day...
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant. (AP)
(AP)

Reacting to the mass murder of Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant blamed President Donald Trump for a rise in anti-Semitism. Only, it is Sawant who holds anti-Semitic positions and, only months ago, hosted a virulently anti-Semitic event using taxpayer dollars.

In a weekend tweet, Sawant blamed Trump for a rise of “anti-Semitism, white supremacy, attacks on immigrants, LGBTQ, workers & poor escalating under Trump.”

There’s a lot wrong with her tweet.

For starters, she’s the one who holds hateful views. Sawant promotes offensive, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories suggesting Israel fakes support for the LGBTQ community to “pinkwash” so-called human rights atrocities. Indeed, in May, Sawant hosted an event with the far-Left LGBTQ Commission that screened the anti-Semitic propaganda film “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!”

At the time, The Jewish Federation of Seattle slammed the event, claiming, it will “at the very least … stir up increased anti-Semitism.”

Soon after this incident, I wrote about Seattle’s Jewish community growing tired of this hate. State Senator Reuven Carlyle harshly criticizes Sawant.

“Sawant’s associations and affiliations on this issue are crystal clear and well-known,” Carlyle told me. “She has a strong advocacy against the State of Israel and has a longtime record associated with that. I do not think it reflects the majority of folks in Seattle, or even in her district.”

Orthodox Jews have remarkably high approval ratings for Trump. The same couldn’t be said for Sawant, who even refused to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization. Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer stopped by my show to condemn her position.

“It might be that this particular council member doesn’t understand what Hamas is,” Dermer told me. “Hamas is a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction. They are committed by their charter. The charter calls for the murder of Jews worldwide.”

To suddenly claim solidarity with Jews, when Sawant routinely promotes anti-Semitic beliefs directly related to why Jews are villainized, is empty symbolism. She tweets this out — while not even exclusively standing with Jews — to give herself cover from criticism that she is an anti-Semite. It won’t work.

To claim Trump is to blame? It defies her own role — and some basic facts.

Sawant is right to imply hate crimes are on the rise, though that’s been the case nationally since 2015 (before Trump took office). Seattle hasn’t been immune, seeing a steady rise of hate crimes.

But if Sawant is going to claim Trump is responsible, one might wonder, given her rhetoric against Israel, how much responsibility she bears. As a Jew, am I glad she’s showing her solidarity? I suppose, even if I think she’s doing it with political motives. I’ll take the well wishes. But I’d prefer she stop spreading anti-Semitic positions, passing them along as mainstream criticism of Israel. They’re not. They’re textbook examples of anti-Semitism that purposefully ignore terrorist attacks on Jews to make Jews seems like the bad guys.

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Rantz: Sawant blames Trump after synagogue massacre, but holds anti-Semitic positions