Rantz: I was assaulted, Israel flag burned at Seattle’s anti-Semitic rally
May 16, 2021, 5:49 PM | Updated: May 17, 2021, 11:17 am
Seattle’s progressive activists assembled at Westlake Park to scream anti-Semitic vitriol. They are upset that Israel is defending itself against Hamas terrorists holding Gaza hostage.
In the process of covering the event, which was already tense for me as a Jew, I was assaulted by a fringe activist. I was then summarily kicked out of the public rally. As the woman hit me with a Palestinian flag, anti-Israel activists in the crowd did nothing. Some of the assault was caught on cell phone video. I wasn’t the only Jew assaulted.
Scroll down for a video of the assault.
Before the assault, the event was tense — for Jews, at least. A Jewish counterprotester, after being labeled a white supremacist by the hate-rally’s emcee, was attacked. His Israeli flag was stolen, stomped on, and burned.
Anti-Semitism comes to Seattle; first Jew gets attacked
The rally at Westlake Park was in response to the Hamas attacks on Israel.
When the emcee took to the mic just after 1 p.m. on Sunday, she pointed to a small group of counterprotesters across the street. One was waving an Israeli flag.
“I’m going to ask you to not engage with them, OK? They’re out here standing for white supremacy and settler-colonialism. That’s embarrassing, and we don’t need to legitimize them by having dialogue with them. Not here, not ever, do you understand?”
Antifa thugs immediately surrounded the counterprotesters.
After what looked like a scuffle and assault, anti-Semitic activists stole the Israeli flag. They stomped and danced on the flag. Then they burned it in the middle of the street.
As the flag burned, the crowd chanted, “Long live the intifada.”
Police are investigating an assault associated with the flag theft.
They didn’t hide their Jew-hatred
Activists in the crowd didn’t hide their hatred of Jews and Israel.
They weren’t protesting Israeli policy, which is often a claim made by progressives as they justify their anti-Semitism. They argue that being critical of Israel is not being anti-Semitic. That is true. But when the only policy you criticize is one where Israel defends itself against Hamas terrorists? Then yes, you’re an anti-Semite.
One activist held the sign, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This is long considered a not-so-subtle code for destroying Israel and eradicating its millions of Jews. As Israel-based writer Hen Mazzig noted, it’s “a slogan calling for the mass murder of Jews in Israel.”
Another sign said “Zionism = Nazism,” while another said, “It’s not a war if only one side has an army.” In other words, Hamas terrorists firing rockets indiscriminately into Israeli homes, killing innocent civilians, isn’t an act of war. It’s not even violence, really. Hamas isn’t an army.
Seattle fraudsters speak
I stayed to hear some of the speakers. Both Seattle City Council candidate Nikkita Oliver and Democrat State Representative Kirsten Harris-Talley spoke.
Both are queer and Black, and they both spoke out against Israel.
It’s unclear if it’s due to ignorance, but neither acknowledged that in Gaza they’d be denied the right to live openly queer. Women and girls face gender-based assaults and killings, including honor killings in Gaza. And while I understand both activists to be outspoken critics of police brutality, they should look at what Palestinian authorities do in Gaza. Oliver and Harris-Talley are frauds driven by a hatred of Israel, not the support of Palestinians.
Needless to say, I was curious to hear what they had to say.
First, I was harassed
As Oliver began to speak, a woman approached me to tell me to stop filming. I asked why.
“I see that you’re obviously pro-cop,” she told me.
She was concerned that I would film the faces of people at the public protest, though that wasn’t really my intention.
How did she know I was pro-cop? I made a tactical error — one that I don’t usually make.
I was wearing my Back the Blue bracelet, which I haven’t taken off in about three years. It’s usually obscured with long sleeves. This time, however, I rolled up my sleeves because it was hot outside. I screwed up, and the anti-cop Seattle activists that patrol the crowds for enemies spotted me. In Seattle, ironically even at a protest against the so-called abuses against free Palestinians, you do not have rights amongst the activists.
I politely declined to stop filming the Oliver speech and stood my ground. About a minute later, she returned with reinforcements to block my camera. I continued to film not because I wanted the video but because I wanted the audio. I work in radio.
The woman then put a target on my back. She screamed, “This guy is pro-police! He’s filming, and he’s pro-police!”
I should have expected what came next.
Then, I was assaulted
As I stood there recording the back of the cardboard signs as Oliver delivered her political speech, I got hit or shoved in the head and neck by what I think was a Palestinian flag that a crazed woman was holding. How ironic.
It didn’t hurt, not really. It was more jarring — when you’re attacked from behind unexpectedly, it’s a bit unnerving. I immediately shouted, “Don’t touch me!” It happened really, really quickly.
I turned to find a woman dressed in a blue and grey long-sleeve shirt or sweatshirt and what I thought were two people by her side. It might have been the two people blocking my camera’s view. The crowd was thick and crowded, and I was caught off guard. There could have been more. She could have been acting alone, responding to the woman putting a target on my back, calling me pro-police.
“F— off,” she said as she swung at me, pushing me out of the rally.
I thought I was able to get much of it on video. It turns out when you’re attacked from behind out of nowhere, it’s not easy to focus a cell phone camera on the radical anti-Semite attacking you. All while walking backward.
I kept telling her not to touch me. I could do little: Imagine if this Jew hit her back in self-defense, surrounded by a mob of anti-Israel radicals. It would not have ended well for me.
As I was quickly being pushed back, I heard someone either ask or say that I was pro-Israel (guilty as charged and proud of it). Imagine what would have happened had they seen the star of David I wear around my neck?
I’m fine, but it could have been worse
I alerted nearby police, not because I had some near-death experience, but because this is obviously not OK. And if even half of what happened to me happened at a pro-Israel event, progressives would claim American Jews were bringing genocide to Seattle.
Police took a report. I couldn’t give them much beyond a basic description of what the radical looked like (her face and head were covered), and my video only captured the shirt she was wearing. If they catch her, will I press charges? Absolutely. And when she’s let go with a slap on the wrist, I’ll call that out, too.
Am I OK? Yes. I was assaulted but not beat to a bloody pulp. It was certainly alarming to be surrounded by people who don’t believe in Israel’s right to exist while being attacked by a crazy woman. I’m not in any pain and am mostly annoyed that I forgot to obscure my bracelet.
But to be clear: If I were on the other side of the rally, where a substantial number of Antifa thugs were stationed, I’m certain this would have ended differently. I would have actually been seriously injured.
Targets on our backs
So all that happened. Now what?
It will be interesting to see if local journalists who decried the dangers of journalism under President Donald Trump will call this a peaceful rally. I suspect media outlets covering the event will ignore this incident and maybe even pretend the Israeli flag wasn’t danced on and burned. The media sometimes ignore clear stories of anti-Semitism. I would be happy to be wrong.
As consumers of news, I hope you reach out and demand news outlets (be it TV, print, or radio) to be honest about the rally instead of trying to whitewash the anti-Semitism and violence on display. And if an outlet doesn’t cover the event, you should demand they do so. Folks should know what happened.
In general, Seattle media tends to go easy on these radicals, especially on a topic like this. They don’t want to get too involved because G-d forbid they be seen as defending a country’s right to defend itself against terrorists firing thousands of rockets at innocent civilians.
Call out the violence and hate
But if folks in and out of the media don’t call this out, this kind of behavior will only continue. Activists put a target on my back for assault, and that’s exactly what happened. I was assaulted. There is always that threat — I wrote about it for FOX News.
I was at the rally documenting. Sure, they don’t like how I document their rallies. Too bad; I don’t particularly appreciate how they rally, and yet I don’t try to stop them from rallying. We still have a right to a free press. If they want stories slanted in their favor, they have the Stranger, the Seattle Times, KING 5, Tacoma News Tribune, and the Everett Herald.
Moreover, I hope you’ll realize that it’s not particularly safe or comfortable being a Jew in Seattle — unless, of course, you’re willing to use your Judaism for far-left political posturing. Then the far-left will embrace you.
But in Seattle, there’s a long history of anti-Semitism. You don’t even have to go that far back for some egregious examples. Indeed, tax dollars go towards screenings of propaganda films demonizing Israel while defending terrorism.
The Left feels empowered with this kind of behavior. I’m there to document it, hoping some of you will help remind them why it’s not OK. I’ve done my part and got hit in the head with a Palestinian flag for it.
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