Rantz: CAIR-Washington using intimidation tactics to protect anti-Semites
Nov 7, 2023, 7:12 PM | Updated: 7:12 pm
(Photo from Jason Rantz)
The Washington state chapter of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) appears to be using intimidation tactics to protect anti-Semites from being criticized.
CAIR-Washington is a nonprofit activist group critical of Israel and Jews. It has spent the last several weeks pushing propaganda to demonize Israel and prop up the terrorist organization Hamas. CAIR’s support for Hamas isn’t surprising. The federal government contended the national organization had ties to the terrorist organization. And the group has a long history of anti-Semitism. But now they’re trying to protect local anti-Semites from being publicly criticized.
There’s an online movement to expose anti-Semites who are publicly denigrating Jews and Israel. A number of Americans are filming and confronting anti-Semites as they tear down posters with the names and faces of kidnapped Israelis. Part of this movement includes naming the monsters engaged in their Jew and Israel hatred. I’ve participated in this, though I’ve only called out people in positions of power over Jews since no Jew can expect to be treated fairly by an anti-Semite. CAIR-Washington wants me and others to think we can’t legally do this. They’re wrong.
CAIR-Washington isn’t very subtle, and the subtext is clear. They’re trying to stop you from outing anti-Semites.
“Doxxing is illegal in Washington state,” wrote CAIR-Washington on its Instagram page. “Per RCW 4.24.792, Unauthorized publication of personal identifying information, effective as of 7/23/23. Has personal identifying information, such as your address, name, employment information, or any other sensitive private info, been published without your consent? Tell CAIR-Washington: go to cairwa.org and click ‘GET HELP.”
It’s obviously sick to fight for anti-Semites. But CAIR-Washington has no issues because they likely believe their base of supporters could be outed at pro-Hamas rallies. If that’s the case, they should be outed.
But if they’re hoping this will discourage people from calling out people for comments made or actions taken in public, CAIR-Washington better hope this law never gets challenged in court. It’s unlikely to escape legal scrutiny.
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Democrat law makes criticism doxxing
Doxxing is defined as “unauthorized publication of personal identifying information with intent or knowledge that the information will be used to harm the individual whose information is published, or with reckless disregard for the risk the information will be used to harm the individual whose information is published.”
The identifying information covered includes name, address, and employer. It even covers social media accounts, essentially deeming tagging someone on X, formerly known as Twitter, as illegal unless you get express consent.
Under the law introduced by then-State Representative Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island), it does not matter if the information is publicly available or even voluntarily provided. Simply publishing the information, if it was done with the “intent of knowledge” that it can “harm” the individual, is illegal.
There are notable exemptions under the bill, including for the press. But the RCW also provides an exemption “in connection with an exercise of the right of freedom of speech.” That would likely cover pretty much any so-called doxxing as defined by RCW. But the intent of the post is to get people to second guess whether or not they think it’s worth criticizing an anti-Semite.
More from Rantz: Seattle media ignores pro-Israel rally, sanitizes pro-Hamas blockade
The many, many, many problems with the doxxing law
There is no right to anonymity when speaking in public.
Merely identifying someone who spoke publicly, even if it leads to harassment, is protected speech. It doesn’t matter whether or not the speaker wants the attention. That they spoke in public means they do not get to feign outrage that they’ve been called out. Indeed, speaking in public is precisely what gives you the right to record someone without their expressed written consent.
Under this law, if you repost someone’s X screed and tag the user with the intent of criticizing them and hoping others will weigh in, you’d be violating this law. But that is not actually illegal, and neither the government nor the aggrieved can legitimately punish someone for that conduct.
The RCW said, “It is not a defense to a violation of this section that the personal identifying information at issue was voluntarily given to the publisher, has been previously publicly disclosed, or is readily discoverable through research or investigation.” Actually, it absolutely is a defense against the law. Merely reprinting information that is publicly available or volunteered is also protected speech. It’s precisely why, in the same section, the exemption is given for “any activity protected under the Constitution of the United States or the Washington state Constitution.”
Speech can open someone up to criminal liability if they encourage others to stalk or harass, as defined by Washington RCW. But that was already against the law before passing the doxxing law. Libel or slander is also not protected, though the bar is high: you must prove a statement was made with actual malice.
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The doxxing law is meant to silence critics
Drew Hansen, who pushed the bill, is a lawyer. He obviously knows better than to pretend doxxing, as defined in this RCW, is illegal. He did not respond to a request for comment. It seems clear, however, his bill was never about prosecutions. It was about silencing critics — precisely the way CAIR-Washington is using it.
“The law is totally unenforceable in the context cited by CAIR: namely people identifying those who are making public antisemitic remarks or tearing down posters of hostages,” attorney Mark Lamb explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “CAIR is seeking to frighten those who would expose antisemites and supporters of Hamas. Just as with CAIR’s arguments about Gaza, they are counting on their target audience being totally uninformed.”
Lamb notes RCW 4.24.792(2)(b) of the RCW that says you’re not illegally doxxing if, “Providing personal identifying information in connection with an exercise of the right of freedom of speech.”
“Identifying someone, by name, who publicly targets Jews and encourages the destruction of Israel is the very definition of free speech,” Lamb says. “Thankfully, United States courts have consistently rejected speech codes and other collectivist efforts to shut down freedom of expression. Indeed, even the national CAIR website stated in a quote that calls to mind the adage ‘Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue’: ‘CAIR exists to uphold the right to liberty that Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution. We will challenge any attempts to erode constitutionally-protected liberties.'”
The Instagram post served as little more than a threat: if you identify anti-Semites, you are breaking the law. The goal is to shut us up and protect the hate. But when you don’t call out the hate, it becomes normalized and then it foments. We’re already seeing violence unfold, motivated by Jew hatred. Imagine what could happen if there was no pushback from Jews and our allies.
More from Rantz: UW professor Megan Ybarra praised terrorist attack as ‘justice’
As Jewish and our allies are criticizing anti-Semites by calling them out on social media, there’s a bit of irony. The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) actually celebrated the anti-doxxing bill’s passage.
“ADL is proud to have worked directly with policymakers and stakeholders to codify doxxing into Washington state law to protect vulnerable communities while holding perpetrators accountable for their malicious actions,” Miri Cypers, ADL Pacific Northwest Regional Director, said at the time.
Is the doxxing law supposed to protect anti-Semites, and other bigots, from public criticism? Does the ADL PNW have any regrets about supporting the bill? In a statement to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, Cypers notes that doxxing “with the intent that the information be used against the target for an unlawful purpose–such as stalking or injuring someone” is, obviously, wrong.
“We know that Jewish communities and other minority communities can be vulnerable to these types of threats. We passed a law in Washington State to create a civil remedy for victims of doxxing and we continue to support this important policy,” she said.
But that’s not how CAIR-Washington is attempting to use the law. And that was never its intent.
“This new policy tool is not intended to be used to punish those communicating differing political opinions online, but instead to ensure people feel safe online from the threat of severe harassment,” Cypers noted.
Calling out anti-Semites helps counter the hate
Progressive media celebrated efforts to “doxx” white supremacists carrying Tiki Torches at a hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Americans of all political stripes didn’t mind because it’s hard to be sympathetic with a racist. Similarly, it’s hard to find sympathy for anti-Semites and they’re undeserving of it.
There are legitimate reasons to identify anti-Semites, especially if you’re Jewish.
“Americans have understood for generations that those who use terror, violence and hate against minority groups often seek to conceal their identities,” Lamb said. “This is why states and cities enacted anti-mask laws in the middle of the 20th century to stop the Ku Klux Klan from terrorizing black Americans behind a hood of anonymity. CAIR seeks to give aid and comfort to those who would spit venom and incite violence against our Jewish neighbors by pretending state law gives them a license to do so without being publicly identified. CAIR is as mistaken in this belief as they are in making a false moral equivalency between the massacre on Oct. 7th and the military campaign against its perpetrators.”
Anti-Semites are organizing or attending hate rallies chanting for genocide against Jews with “from the river to the sea,” and “long live the intifada,” or celebrating Hamas terrorist attacks. These are our neighbors, teachers, doctors, grocers, retail clerks, and coworkers. Most Jews don’t want anything to do with them and we’re right to be concerned.
Many are celebrating and justifying babies being decapitated, women being raped, and elderly being burned alive. They pose a direct and clear threat to our safety. We deserve to know who the threats may be. And for those who pose no safety threat, we deserve to know who we are associating with or giving our business to.
"Why does our timeline for justice start on October 7th?" -Megan Ybarra (@MuyBarra) UW-Seattle Associate Professor in the Department of Geography.
She was a featured speaker at this week's pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic hate rally on campus. pic.twitter.com/r0NaKtyEcR
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) October 27, 2023
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