Seattle Jewish community condemns UW anti-Israel resolution


“Hear us loud and clear: The Jewish community of Seattle is firmly united in its opposition to the BDS movement. Our unity is both bipartisan and cross-denominational!” – Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers & Rabbi Ben Hassan

Seattle is not only home to the state’s largest college but also to  a dynamic, vibrant Jewish community. 

 As word of the anti-Israel BDS resolution filtered down to members of  the Jewish community, universal outrage was the common response. 

Lay leader and scion of the community, Albert Behar, expressed surprise and indignation when hearing of the BDS efforts at his Alma-Mater.  Behar shared that “I am well familiar with the danger that this type of language, these false accusations pose to our community. The Jews in Rhodes [from where my parents emigrated] were subjected to years of  similar hatred and demonization, those  who could,  fled,  every Jew that remained  was sent to their death in Auschwitz”.

Rachel Sassoon, a longtime member of Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation was  troubled when learning of   the divestment resolution telling The Mike Report that “BDS and all those that are in their libeling camp are intentionally spreading lies that seek to harm us. They are putting the Nation of Israel and all Jewish people in danger.”

Ari Hoffman, The City Director of NCSY, one of Seattle’s largest Jewish youth groups submitted a letter of concern to the ASUW sharing his organization’s indignation at this affront to the Jewish Community. Noted Hoffman, “To pass a resolution such as this which is based on no facts and fueled by anti Israel hatred and anti Semitism will send a very clear message that Jews are not welcome on campus. To condemn a nation like Israel for alleged crimes while ignoring actual  humans rights violations in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon is a joke.”

Rabbi Moshe Kletenik, Av Beit Din of the Va’ad Harabanim of Greater Seattle

Rabbi Moshe Kletenik, Av Beit Din (Rabbinic head)) of The Va’ad Harabanim of Greater Seattle, representing Washington State’s orthodox Rabbis released a letter today condemning the pending BDS legislation at the UW. “The Va’ad HaRabanim of Greater Seattle represents the Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Seattle. We are  deeply saddened and appalled at the effort to divest from the State of Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East.”  In strong, deliberate language the Va’ad Harabanim letter asserts that “The BDS movement has engaged in a process of demonization and delegitimization of Israel ignoring the complexities of the situation.

“The efforts of this movement are motivated by anti-Semitism cloaked as anti-Zionism.” – Seattle Va’ad Harabanim

Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers

Additionally, Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers  of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth and Rabbi Ben Hassan of Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation issued  powerfully worded  letters to the UW Student Senate today  in response  to the anti-Israel resolution being  presented this Tuesday, May 6th.

Said Rabbi Meyers…

“As one of the leaders of the Seattle Jewish community and as a human being, I am appalled and distressed by the very thought of the proposed BDS resolution”.

Rabbi Meyers  goes on to chide the sponsors of the resolution…

“Students of your integrity should be utterly ashamed to link your names to such a bizarre and blatantly lopsided perspective”. 

The spiritual leader of the 104 year old congregation issued a plea to student leaders…

“There is still time for individual students and the UW student senate as a whole to rethink its horribly misguided and unethical resolution.”

Rabbi Ben Hassan.

Rabbi Ben Hassan.

Said  Rabbi  Hassan in his letter to the UW student senate…

The connection between anti-Semitic rhetoric and BDS is not an accident. At its core the movement is an expression of Jew hatred since it seeks to single out for special discrimination the one Jewish state in the world while disregarding every other possible human-rights issue elsewhere.”

He goes on to declare that …

“as a rabbi in the Seattle Jewish community I am shocked by the thought of the proposed BDS resolution. To even think of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against the State of Israel is an absolute tragedy.”

Seattle’s Jewish community, including virtually every congregation and communal organization is joining together on May 28th at Temple De Hirsch Sinai congregation for an unprecedented mass gathering to declare universal opposition to the  BDS movement.

Today’s rabbinical statements come in the wake of a propaganda video issued by divestment supporters today  which compares the Jewish state to perpetrators of genocide in Darfur and Apartheid in South Africa. While obscene, the video is worth viewing to see laid bare the BDS strategy of dehumanization and demonization as a means of deligitimizing Israel’s very existence. Link to Video HERE.

The UW student senate is scheduled to hear a first reading of anti-Israel BDS resolution R-20-39 this Tuesday, May 6th at 5:00pm at Paccar Hall 192. The public is welcome. Student leaders from Huskies Against Divestment urge our readers to sign their petition against the resolution (Link HERE).

Read the Seattle Va’ad letter and Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyer’s and Rabbi Ben Hassan’s full letters to the ASUW below.  (PDF link to the Seattle Va’ad  letter HEREto Rabbi Meyers’ letter HERE and  to Rabbi Hassan’s letter HERE)




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