Rantz: King County official defended terrorists, tweets anti-Semitic smears

Mar 20, 2023, 5:31 PM | Updated: 6:11 pm

Tamer Abouzeid...

Tamer Abouzeid, Director at King County's Office of Law Enforcement Oversight

The radical activist who runs King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight once defended Palestinian terrorists against being labeled as such. He also frequently posts or retweets anti-Semitic views, tropes, and propaganda.

The Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest and the American Jewish Committee of Seattle are now asking the King County Council to reconsider his future.

Tamer Abouzeid is an outspoken critic of the police, despite holding a position requiring objectivity on law enforcement issues. But his disdain apparently extends far beyond law enforcement. He’s a critic of Israel’s existence, amplifying anti-Semitic viewpoints, particularly on Twitter. But his views on Jews and Israel were on full display in a Letter to the Editor in an August 2001 edition of the Chicago Tribune that he allegedly wrote.

The letter was titled “Not Terrorists” and it took issue with the label “terrorists” placed on Palestinians attacking Israel and killing innocent Jews.

“In Israel/Palestine, the Palestinians who die for their cause are called ‘terrorists.’ The only reason they are called so is because their attacks are not planned by a government,” Abouzeid falsely asserted. “The Israeli army has killed more people, used heavier weapons and artillery, and left hundreds homeless–all following the commands of one man, Ariel Sharon. How, then, could the Palestinians who die proving a point that could only be proven this way be called ‘terrorists’? It is unfair.”

When Israeli forces kill Palestinian terrorists, groups seeking Israel’s destruction claim they’re the “victims.” Abouzeid helps amplify the propaganda.

This is Part Two of a two-part series on Abouzeid’s conduct and troubling beliefs. For Part One, click here

Tamer Abouzeid

(Tamer Abouzeid’s Twitter)

Amplifying anti-Semitism

In early January, Abouzeid retweeted an anti-Semitic smear with an Alaa Daraghme tweet. Daraghme, a journalist called out for his anti-Semitism, claimed that Israeli troops killed 16-year-old Amer Abou Zaytoun, citing the Palestinian Authority Health Minister. He included a photo of the boy smiling at a park. The message Abouzeid amplified claimed that “The Israeli military has already killed three Palestinian children this year. The year is five days old.” Abou Zaytoun wasn’t merely an innocent 16-year-old Palestinian. The boy shot at Israeli troops “at close range” while they attempted to arrest two terror suspects. They returned fire, killing the boy.

Abouzeid retweeted a false claim by known propagandist Muhammad Shehada. He tweeted that Israeli forces murdered a father for defending his son, claiming “they shot him in the chest and at gunpoint.” He said they refused the man medical help. Unsurprisingly, this is a lie. As Israeli troops attempted to arrest the man’s son (a suspected terrorist), they faced men throwing rocks and cement blocks from rooftops. The father was allegedly one of them. After he was shot, Israeli troops were seen on video providing him with medical aid.

He also retweeted Yousef Munayyer, who refuses to label Hamas a terrorist group, screenshotting a tweet from a Jewish journalist critical of a Palestinian march at the University of Michigan. He said the group was calling for the murder of Jews. Munayyer called the march a “call for freedom” and claimed the tweet smeared Palestinians. But the Jewish journalist posted a video of the march, which included the group calling for an “intifada” (violent uprising) against Israel. One student held up a sign, “there is only one solution,” a not-so-subtle reference to Hitler’s “final solution” plan of genocide. The screenshot was selected when the sign was not in the video, which Munayyer made to look like a still photo.

Tamer Abouzeid

(Tamer Abouzeid’s Twitter)

Abouzeid doesn’t seem to like Jews very much

The socialist radical seems not to like very many Jews. Abouzeid sees the state of Israel as an occupation of Palestinian land. He argues there can be no democracy, “so long as occupation is ongoing.” This is a pretty direct way of saying he doesn’t think Israel should exist as it currently does. He helped an extremist with a speech intended to convince the audience that Israeli independence was wrong. He even accuses Israel of committing “ethnic cleansing.”

“When another intifada begins, don’t come at me with your bull—- calls for peace and your sudden-found care for civilians. You give zero s—- about Palestinian civilians being murdered and displaced—you know, ethnic cleansing,” he tweeted.

Abouzeid retweeted anti-Semite Jay Ray complaining about a New York Times article covering a college group that barred Zionists from speaking at their events. He was mad that there were too many Jews quoted in the story, complaining there wasn’t any “context regarding Israel’s occupation and its horrors.” Ray was recently profiled by StopAntisemitism, a leading organization fighting Jew hatred, for expressing his desire to see Israel not exist. Abouzeid, and others, help mainstream Ray’s hatred.

A familiar retort from anti-Semites is that it’s not Jew hatred to criticize Israeli policy. Abouzeid has made that argument, and he’s right. Criticizing Israeli policy is not anti-Semitism — unless the only policies you criticize are ones that allow the country to defend itself from terrorists who openly call for the country to be wiped off the map. When that’s the only so-called “policy” criticism, ignoring or justifying Palestinian violence, it’s rooted in anti-Semitism.

Abouzeid accuses Israel of apartheid and genocide. This is a clear form of anti-Semitism as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). He accuses Israel of apartheid or genocide. The IHRA, and the European Commission, rightly deemed it anti-Semitic to claim “that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” Anti-Semites make these claims to gin up hatred against the state of Israel and its Jewish citizens.

Tamer Abouzeid

(Tamer Abouzeid’s Twitter)

Troubling conduct

The King County Council passed a proclamation this year to condemn anti-Semitism. They should publicly explain if they find Abouzeid’s conduct in line with its position on anti-Semitism.

Under pressure from left-wing groups hostile to Israel, the council caved and omitted explicit references to the IHRA. But it included a reference to Puget Sound Jewish groups that have explicitly adopted the IHRA definition, and the proclamation links directly to it. Abouzeid’s comments and conduct are anti-Semitic in nature. Like other bad-faith activists, it’s easy to hide behind claims you’re critical of policy when the criticism is mostly about Israel existing and defending itself.

Regina Sassoon Friedland is the Regional Director for the American Jewish Committee Seattle chapter. She called the tweets “unacceptable for a public official” — even if they were on his personal account.

“Trafficking in tropes that demonize the State of Israel, calling into question its existence as a homeland for Jewish people, and sharing misinformation about Zionism, which is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, compromises his ability to serve as Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight,” Friedland said to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Considering his anti-Zionist animus, would Jewish residents of King County receive the same treatment as others who file complaints? At a time when antisemitic acts and rhetoric are surging across the country, his comments are deeply problematic. I urge the Metropolitan King County Council to reconsider Abouzeid’s appointment as director of OLEO.”

The Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest released a statement to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH after reviewing many of Abouzeid’s tweets:

“The numerous posts Abouzeid published on Twitter are yet another example of the deceitful and inflammatory propaganda aimed at demonizing Israel and generating hate against the Jewish State. Rhetoric like this too often fuels attacks against Jews on college campuses and beyond, as shown in a tweet that defends calls to murder Jews, retweeted by Abouzeid. We urge the King County Council to reconsider his appointment as Director of King County OLEO.”

Abouzeid did not respond to a request for comment and turned his Twitter private.

Tamer Abouzeid

(Tamer Abouzeid’s Twitter)

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Rantz: King County official defended terrorists, tweets anti-Semitic smears