(June 12, 2019 / JNS) Jewish candidate for Seattle City Council Ari Hoffman has been targeted by anti-Semitic threats and actions against his campaigning.
The threats, which were posted on the site 8chan, were revealed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). They identify Hoffman as “this f***er is running for Seattle city council [The individual] lives on my street, and has an isreali [sic] flag hanging out front. What is the move?”
Additional comments to the post on 8chan include violent calls to action as well.
“Kill [the individual]. Literally kill [the individual]. Burn the flag along with [the individual], dead or alive. There is no victory without violence. Killing your enemies always benefits you. When you kill, you win,” one comment read, according to MEMRI.
There have also been other anti-Semitic actions in the neighborhood targeting Hoffman, including sign stealing.
Resident Dana Math noticed a Facebook post about Hoffman signs appearing in yards in the Seward Park neighborhood. She subtracted a few campaign signs in a neighborhood roundabout, later posting that she did so.
Upon noticing the missing signs, Hoffman alerted Seattle police, which opened an investigation.
“Math remembers having a relatively nice conversation with the detective, who Math said seemed eager to close the case. Math offered to give the signs back, and did later drop them off at the Seattle police South Precinct,” reported Patch.com.
However, additional Hoffman signs were stolen, with the candidate reporting that they were taken from the lawns of Jewish homes.
Hoffman told Patch.com that he called 911, as he worried that South Seattle’s Jews were being singled out.
“It freaked out a lot of people in my community,” he said. “They don’t feel safe anymore.”
‘Inaction has consequences’
Hoffman added that Math and others have made what he claimed to be anti-Semitic comments regarding talking to “the Jewish community” about his politics.
Additionally, he provided “37 screenshots of various social media posts that he says are threatening or anti-Semitic. One calls Hoffman a Zionist, another tells him to ‘go back to Israel.’ Several screenshots are of posts made by Matt ‘Spek’ Watson, a local hip-hop artist. In Hoffman’s screenshots, Watson criticizes Israeli military actions against Palestinians. But Hoffman would not go so far as to call Watson an anti-Semite,” according to Patch.com.
Watson is a critic of Hoffman.
“I’m concerned that he’s using his frequent appearances on national conservative media to raise tens of thousands of dollars from outside the district, and then using that money to poison local discourse by pushing outdated, dangerous, right-wing policy that has decimated communities for decades,” said Watson.
“I’m not going to attack my opponents,” said Hoffman in a radio interview. “But what’s sad to me is that it seems to be that nobody wants to discuss the actual anti-Semitism that’s going on.”
“It seems nobody wants to discuss the hate going on, yet at every forum I go to I get asked a question on race relations, and people don’t want to discuss this and that’s disappointing because if we don’t discuss these kind of things, things are never going to get better,” he continued.
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The American Jewish Committee condemned the anti-Semitic attacks against Hoffman.
“Noxious threats against any candidate for elected office and his family are abhorrent, even more so when the venomous rhetoric is blatantly anti-Semitic,” said AJC Seattle director Regina Friedland.
“Inaction has consequences,” she said. “Whatever one may think about Mr. Hoffman’s policy positions on local Seattle issues, inserting his faith or the State of Israel into the discourse should be rebuked as out of bounds.”