Rantz: As hate crimes rise, Seattle activists host anti-Semitic event

May 1, 2019, 5:55 AM | Updated: 7:45 am
Anti-Semitism Israel flag...
(Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
(Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

As hate crimes against Jews are on the rise both nationally and locally, Seattle activists are hosting an anti-Semitic event that one high-placed Democratic leader calls “important.”

RELATED: Jewish community grows angry, impatient with Sawant
RELATED: Anti-Semitic incidents dramatically rose in state over 2018

“We were not hoping to shine a brighter light on it, but unfortunately so many people are alarmed about this event and what it purports to represent, that we’re forced to speak out,” Randy Kessler tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. Kessler is the Northwest Region Executive Director of Stand With Us, a group that fights anti-Semitism.

The Thursday night panel discussion is titled “Intersectional Dialogue on Weaponizing Charges of Antisemitism,” and comes as Progressive activists defend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) widely condemned anti-Semitic remarks.

It is an intersectional view that a Muslim woman of color, such as Omar, cannot be anti-Semitic because, after-all, Jews are just rich, powerful, white people to them. It’s, indeed, an anti-Semitic argument.

The event description on Facebook says they will ask: “How are charges of antisemitism being weaponized to specifically target powerful Black and Muslim leaders, force Jews and Jewish allies into false dichotomies, divert attention from the worldwide rise of white nationalism and state violence, and divide progressive movement-building?”

In other words, evil Jews like myself aren’t about fighting anti-Jew hatred — we’re the actual bigots purposefully using anti-Semitism as a cover to attack “powerful Black and Muslim leaders.” The evil Jew at work, right?

Anti-Semitic defenders of Omar, and others who share her hateful views, often cite a conspiracy theory by the all-powerful Jewish lobby meant to silence them. They claim that their legitimate policy disagreements with the Israeli government is unfairly deemed anti-Semitic.

Only, these folks rarely critique policies they disagree with. Instead, as Omar did, they use anti-Semitic tropes of dual loyalty and Jewish influence that’s purchased. They present Israel as solely to blame for the region’s turmoil, claim they run an apartheid state (a term these critics don’t understand), and even defend the terrorist organization Hamas.

The event description further wonders how white nationalism intersects with those of us who call out anti-Semitism (it doesn’t) and asks how anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia are connected (it’s not). This panel is set up as an ardent defense of anti-Semitism.

The panel includes two Jewish people, Rabbi David Basior of the Kadima Reconstructionist Community and moderator Maya Berkowitz. They also happen to be deeply critical of Israel, do not believe in the Jewish state, and support the anti-Semitic movement, “Boycott, Divest, Sanction.”

“The moderator and one of the presenters are affiliated with a radical anti-Zionist group called Jewish Voice for Peace…” Kessler warns “…but what’s important to message to the community here is that they really represent an extremely fringe and minority viewpoint within the Jewish community. They explicitly reject the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Often, anti-Semitic panels like this use self-identified Jews like Basior and Berkowitz to give cover to their hate. It’s the equivalent of a fringe anti-LGBTQ group using a gay person to slam gay marriage, gay adoption, while supporting gay conversion therapy, but they can’t be homophobic because a gay man is on the panel, right?

“These are groups who, for their own political agenda and purposes, are providing unfortunate cover to what the real belief system is [of Jews]… strongly held beliefs of over 95 percent who strongly support the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state in the Middle East,” Kessler said.

The event is near sold out, which is troubling.

“I think the organizers of the event did a good job in provocatively naming an event with a name that is both confusing and, like a car accident in many ways, hard to stay away from,” Kessler explained.

More troubling, to me, is that it seems to have a seal of approval from the Chair of the Washington State Democrats, Tina Podlodowski. On the Facebook event post, Podlodowski was asked if she was attending. She said she will try, because it’s “important stuff!”

Podlodowski did not respond to request for comment. Her seeming endorsement of the event comes at a time when the Democratic Party has come under intense scrutiny, including from within, for offering safe harbor to anti-Semites.

There are a number of organizations listed as hosts for this anti-Semitic event, including the American Muslim Empowerment Network, Seattle King County NAACP, Washington State’s ACLU, OneAmerica, and Womxn’s March Seattle.

To be clear, despite the hate that this panel defends, I don’t object to them hosting the event. Neither does Kessler. But he notes that “we need to speak boldly on this issue and we can’t be silenced.”

They have the right to be hateful bigots. And, luckily, I have the right to call them out. Though, given the concerted efforts to demonize Jews at a time when there’s an increase in targeted harassment of my community, I do hope I can hang on to those rights long enough to keep exposing these hate merchants.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Car Shot Seattle...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man nearly murdered in random Seattle drive-by while celebrating job promotion

My 25-year-old coworker had just finished hitting a bucket of golf balls at a North Seattle golf range. Moments later, his elation turned to terror as a man tried to murder him.
2 days ago
Bellingham Sex Shop...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School Board director hosts ‘Queer Youth Open Mic’ at sex shop

Unless Jenn Mason clears out the store, those children will be near sex toys, graphic books, and lingerie, with a curtained doorway keeping them away.
3 days ago
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police

The unidentified suspect allegedly slapped a King County Superior Court Judge in the face, but the judge didn't want to be identified as a victim.
4 days ago
(Seattle Police Department)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Victim died as medics waited for critically understaffed Seattle Police to arrive to scene

Due to critically low staffing, Seattle Police were unable to quickly respond to a deadly hit and run as medics waited to be cleared to treat the victim.
5 days ago
Police officers block a street as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) ar...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Did Seattle councilmembers abuse police help, while defunding department?

I didn't come up empty-handed because I have no idea whether or not it's true. In this case, I was stopped from doing a part of my job.
9 days ago
Slides from Kirkland Middle School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Presentation  from April 28...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School used unsubstantiated hate speech claim to push kids into equity training

KiMS principal alleged there was an "an increase in use of racial and identity slurs." The incidents were "pervasive rather than an isolated incident."
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Rantz: As hate crimes rise, Seattle activists host anti-Semitic event