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Kshama Sawant, Seattle LGBTQ Commission host anti-Semitic event

Kshama Sawant. (File photo)

In a disturbing case of blatant anti-Semitism, Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the LGBTQ Commission, and the Commission for People with disAbilities, under the guise of encouraging “learning and civil discourse”, hosted an anti-Semitic event. And the Commission isn’t even hiding their agenda, which likely explains why the event has been slammed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Clearly taking an anti-Israel position, the Commission’s Facebook event page claimed “Israel is the country most famous for pinkwashing” and argues they engage in “apartheid” (a term these folks don’t understand). They’re not seeking to discuss whether or not these claims are true; they’re presenting them as fact. This is their way of siding against Israel defending itself against Hamas, which purposely puts civilians in harm’s way in an effort to create anti-Israel propaganda. This is Jew-hating at its most destructive. They’re siding with a Palestinian cause that wishes to wipe Israel off the map and it’s a textbook definition of anti-Semitic.

And Councilmember Kshama Sawant is no stranger to this issue. She refused to identify Hamas as a terrorist organization when I asked in an hour-long debate. Her statements on Israel have been so extreme, that Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, joined me on air to condemn her.

They screened the propaganda documentary “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!” which claims Israel promotes itself as gay-friendly, to hide their supposed “terrible human rights violations.” How ironic, since this event is promoting LGBTQ solidarity to hide their anti-Semitism.

In the opening moments of the film, Nada Elia, an activist wearing a sweater that says “Palestine – We will return”, claims “Israel is not a gay friendly country.” Homosexuality is illegal in “Palestine”. Elia, a Palestinian BDS activist, has called for an intifada against Israel, defended a young terrorist, and pushes anti-Israel conspiracy theories. Yet the Commission claims to “unequivocally condemns anti-Semitic/anti-Jewish behavior.” This event is the physical manifestation of anti-Semitism.

The Commission heard complaints from the Jewish community in Seattle. How they responded is embarrassing. They provide cover by saying the film was directed “by a Jewish filmmaker and features Jewish and Palestinian activists working together.” Except, the documentary provides only one perspective and the Director holds extremist, virulently anti-Israel views that you can read about here and here and here and here.

The Jewish Federation of Seattle slammed this event.

“This event is veiled as focusing on LGBTQ rights, while it actually promotes lies about Israel, alienates and discriminates against the tens of thousands of Jews and Israelis living here, and is likely, at the very least to stir up increased anti-Semitism,” they wrote. “This is a gross misuse of public dollars and unacceptable.”

They’re not alone. Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released a letter to Stand With Us Northwest.

“The Mayor disagrees with the viewpoints in this film and believes it is regrettable that it is perceived as having the official approval of the City of Seattle,” the letter says. “At a time with increased anti-Semitism in Seattle and across the country, Mayor Durkan thinks that our community should be focused on coming together to stand against hatred. In response, Mayor Durkan has asked the Office for Civil Rights to host an event in the upcoming weeks to further promote dialogue around anti-Semitism and LGBTQ rights both here and abroad.”

As a Jew, I’m disgusted by this event. In fact, I sent an email to the Commission last night. A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by the Commission to join as a member. My intent, if I joined, would be to provide a voice they always ignore: a conservative Seattleite. But I withdrew my name from consideration.

The Commissions and Sawant have the right to host this event, no doubt. But their right doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out loudly against the hate that they’re sponsoring. And some wonder why there was a nearly 60% rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the US from 2016 to 2017?

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