JTNews Spreads Councilmember Sawant’s anti-Israel Message





On Monday of this week, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant engaged in the most virulent assault on the Jewish State ever to come out of Seattle’s City Hall. Using the bully pulpit of the council chambers, the lone Socialist councilmember read aloud a one-sided diatribe full of half-truths and falsehoolds leveled against the Jewish state. The letter which she intends to forward to President Obama accused Israel of intentionally attacking a United Nations school. Nowhere did she note that Israel has denied targeting the school or that Hamas is well known for using such facilities as military platforms from which to store and launch rockets. She went on to echo Jon Stewart’s slanted mockery of the dire situation in Gaza, suggesting that even if warned, civilians have “nowhere to go and no place to hide”.  Sawant doesn’t bother to reference the well documented practice by Hamas of using civilians as human shields and of physically preventing civilians from fleeing  known military targets.

Sawant assails what she says was an Israeli attack on Gaza’s sole power plant “leaving half of Gaza without power”. Nowhere does she mention that most of Gaza’s electricity is provided by Israel, even in a time of war. Nor does she note that Israeli power crews have repeatedly risked their lives to repair damage to Gaza bound power lines after they were deliberately blown up by Hamas terrorists. In her excoriation of Israel there is no mention of the Hamas charter which calls for destruction of not just Israel but for the extermination of  the entire Jewish people.

Sawant makes a token effort at balance, frowning on Hamas rocket attacks, but her concluding paragraph calls solely for a Presidential condemnation of the Jewish state and an end to all US aid for Israel.

Sawant is no fan of Israel, this much was known prior to her grandstanding this week. This past Sunday Sawant was the featured speaker at an ostensibly anti-Israel rally that crossed the line into anti-Semitism with Swastika adorned posters and blood drenched Stars of David bobbing above the crowd.  Her participation in that rally along with her failure to condemn the anti-Semitic imagery is a fact among many others that JTNews’ editor Joel Magalnick considers irrelevant;  unworthy of sharing with his readers.

The Federation owned JTNews published Sawant’s hate filled screed in its entirety.

JTNews reprinted Sawant's anti-Israel screed in full with no context or counterpoint. Click for full size image.

JTNews reprinted Sawant’s anti-Israel screed online (above) and in print (below) with no context or counterpoint.

Jew hatred is nothing new nor are radical unbalanced accusations against Israel. What is new though, is a major metropolitan Jewish community that helps fund the unfiltered dissemination of those views through  their donations to the Jewish Federation. Today the Federation owned JTNews (aka The Jewish Sound) published on their website and in print Sawant’s hate filled screed in its entirety. No accompanying commentary or article, not even a minimal effort at balance or context. Nothing more offered editorially than a prominent link to more unfiltered Sawant at her blog and website.

Not even a minimal effort at balance or context.

 Adding insult to injury, Magalnick titled the page “Israel Solidarity” and offered organizations the opportunity to place a half page pro-Israel ad in that edition for the discounted price of $495.00. The price for placing a half page anti-Israel ad in the JTNews (if your name is Kshama Sawant) is free.

The price for placing a half page anti-Israel ad in the JTNews is free.

Ironically three  organizations, Hillel, Kol Ami and USY   who purchased ads  to show their support for Israel  were  forced to share that space with Sawant,  effectively having their message diluted if not overpowered by her barrage against the Jewish state. 

Many critics of the mainstream media have noted what they believe to be a serial anti-Israel bias in their reportage. However valid those critiques may be; outside of their op-ed pages neither the Seattle Times, CNN, The New York Times or even The Stranger have provided Israel’s detractors a full page of free unedited space for Israel haters like Sawant to peddle their bile.

Sawant’s attack on Israel is news and worthy of being covered by Seattle’s sole Jewish community newspaper, but journalistic ethics require that this coverage be presented with context and counterpoints, something the JTNews made no effort to provide.

Rather than educating our community regarding the slanted rhetoric of the council’s most extreme member, the JTNews provided Sawant with a gilded platform to foment animosity and hatred towards the Jewish state.

JTNews provided Sawant with a gilded platform to foment animosity and hatred towards the Jewish state.

We are not positing that the JTNews be an uncritical conduit for a pro-Israel perspective; what we are saying is that “The Voice of Jewish Washington” is obligated to balance the publication of an anti-Israel screed such as this with actual facts.

Which leaves us to ask the question; to whom can we turn for fairness towards Israel when the “Voice of Jewish Washington” has a chronic case of laryngitis?


JTNews had USY, Hillel and Kol Ami share their pro-Israel ad space with Sawant’s brutal salvo against the Jewish state.