KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Seattle-area students to stage hate rally Tuesday as antisemitism on campus surges

Apr 22, 2024, 5:50 PM | Updated: Apr 23, 2024, 4:50 pm

Seattle students rally...

Pro-Palestinian rally among SPS students (Photo: Jason Rantz, KTTH)

(Photo: Jason Rantz, KTTH)

Antisemitic activists are encouraging Seattle and area high school students to walk out of class as part of a “Student Rally for Palestine.” The event is purposefully scheduled to coincide with Passover.

Various digital flyers have been posted by student groups to promote the hate rally. Some flyers give specific instructions on how to avoid “Zionists” and conceal student identity. It’s still unclear how many students will participate, but it’s being organized at a time of increased antisemitism across high school campuses.

Eastlake High School’s “Walkout for Palestine” because, according to the flyer, “our American tax dollars fund genocide. We must not remain silent.” It asks students to join the rally “to stand against the imperialist war machine oiled with Palestinian blood.”

The flyer even tells students to remember, “do not assume admin is our friend,” “protect your identity [sic] cover your face, if possible,” and “do not engage with Zionists.”

More from Jason Rantz: Seattle teacher Ian Golash put on administrative leave, father says

Who is behind the Seattle student hate rally on Tuesday, April 23?

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH has seen flyers for events at Sammamish, Redmond, Issaquah, Newport, Evergreen, Capitol and Avanti High Schools. The same flyer, featuring barbed wire around a megaphone painted to look like a Palestinian flag, is promoting a rally for all Seattle Public Schools students.

The King County Revolutionary Students Union posted a separate flyer promoting a “state-wife student walkout.” It offers assistance and resources for students to stage their walkout. The flyer calls for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, to “release Palestinian prisoners,” (though it does not mention Israeli hostages held by Hamas), and demands just “one state of Palestine.” On another piece of the flyer, it read, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” indicating the one-state solution ends Israel’s existence via genocide.

The school even promoted the hate rally on its student-broadcasted Pack News.

Though the events are billed as for students, they’re being coordinated by adult activists. It explains both the similar (and advanced) language used on the flyers, as well as the same template being used.

The various activism is promoted by several activist groups, including the Seattle chapter of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. This group has been banned in Germany because it supports terrorist organizations like Hamas.

The Lake Washington School District, where Eastlake High School is located, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for SPS said that the district “respects the rights of students to express their views in a peaceful manner, including assembly and nonviolent protest. It is important to clarify that a student-led walkout is not a school or district-sponsored event.”

A LWSD spokesperson emailed The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH with a lengthy statement from the superintendent. The spokesperson said she did not see my original email requesting comment (which I believe, as this spokesperson has always been otherwise responsive). 
The statement reads, in part: “When it comes to student demonstrations, as a district, we have policies aligned with the law and students’ constitutional rights of freedom of expression and assembly. We also have policies pertaining to staff professional responsibilities. It is also important to note that behavior that occurs on LWSD property is evaluated differently than behavior that occurs off LWSD property. Part of this is due to the impact and possible disruption/harm that could occur while on LWSD property versus the possible disruption/harm that could occur while off LWSD property.”

Jewish mother sounds alarms

One Jewish parent with two children in the Lake Washington School district spoke to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. She’s been working with other parents in the area to document antisemitic incidents on campuses statewide.

In nearby Bellevue School District, Jewish students have been targeted with taunts like “Gas the Jews.” At Nathan High School in Seattle, there have been reports of “swastikas” tagged on school property. A Jewish student said he was targeted with a Nazi salute by a student at Chinook Middle School.

The mom said antisemitism on campuses of all different grades runs rampant and that she’s concerned for the safety of her children. She criticized the district for refusing to engage.

“We’ve actually had a lot of contact back and forth with the district,” she explained on The Jason Rantz Show. “They’ve really been quite passive in their approach when dealing with the widespread antisemitism happening. And they’ve been very vocal in their support of other marginalized communities. LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter, Ukraine, you name it. It’s in the district’s mission of equity. So the lack of support for the Jewish students is really hypocritical given the prominently expressed support for the other marginalized groups.”

More from Jason Rantz: Mukilteo teacher boosted fundraiser by Oct. 7 denier, antisemitic smears

Is there hope for change?

The mom told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the district is “inadvertently condoning” the genocidal message of students chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” She noted that the district would never allow messages attacking other marginalized communities.

“They (the district) say they have limitations due to freedom of speech laws,” she said. “But I’m wondering, if kids dismiss themselves midday for walkouts to protest a different marginalized community with racist or homophobic chants if lack of intervention from districts due to freedom of speech laws would still be the case?”

Does she think there will be any meaningful change in the short term? No. Which is what makes Tuesday’s Seattle hate rally, and all the other student rallies so especially concerning. And while Seattle students rally, districts are remaining silent.

More from Jason Rantz: Antisemitic ‘teach-in’ told students Hamas are ‘resistance fighters’

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