Calls for Global Intifada at Seattle Anti-Israel Rally

SEATTLE – About one hundred anti-Israel activists gathered in Seattle’s Westlake Park today to commemorate the day in 1948 in which five Arab armies failed in their stated desire to exterminate the Jews of the reborn state of Israel. The rally leaders proffered in conspiracy theories, telling the group that the University of Washington gave “Zionists the power to censor academics”.

“Sarah”, representing SUPER UW, an SJP affiliate, riled up the crowd by claiming that anti-Israel activists on the University of Washington campus “are intimidated into silence” while “Zionists have been given space to spout racist and genocidal rhetoric on campus”. Chants accusing the Jewish state of genocide and apartheid were used as filler, in-between the lengthy list of speakers.

“We are here in community with you all today to continue the Intifada across the globe and in the diaspora.”

Isabelle “Izzy” Halaka, of the Seattle University branch of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) told the crowd that SJP was initiating a BDS Divestment campaign at Seattle U. Halaka concluded her remarks by declaring that “we are here in community with you all today to continue the Intifada across the globe and in the diaspora.” She then closed out the rally with chants of “long live the Intifada!”. The Intifada is a reference to multiple violent spasms of murderous terrorism against Jews in Israel marked by bombings of buses, university cafeterias, hotels, and restaurants. Over 138 homicide bombings and other attacks left more than 1000 Jewish civilians dead and many more with horrific injuries.

The Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing, was a Palestinian terrorist attack on a pizzeria in  Jerusalem, during the Second Intifada, in which 15 civilians were killed, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and 130 wounded. Anti-Israel activists in Westlake Park today called for a “global Intifada”.

Undeterred by chants calling for a global Intifada and the elimination of the Jewish state, University of Washington graduate student Shelby Handler took to the stage representing the Seattle chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a radical, anti-Zionist and some say, antisemitic organization. Handler, a Robinovitch Family Fellow at the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, provided absolution to the rallygoers, reassuring them that “anti-zionism is not antisemitism“.

Handler’s remarks stand in contrast to those made by Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti Defamation League who asserted at the organization’s national gathering on May 1st that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism”. Greenblatt explains that “anti-Zionism as an ideology is rooted in rage. It is predicated on one concept: the negation of another people, a concept as alien to the modern discourse as white supremacy. It requires a willful denial of even a superficial history of Judaism and the vast history of the Jewish people”.

If history has taught us anything, it is that when someone threatens to harm you, believe them. The shameful demonization, incitement, and public call to violence against Jews that took place in Westlake Park in Seattle today should be taken seriously, we can only hope that local Jewish agencies and law enforcement have taken note and will take appropriate steps to protect their communities.