Chronicle poll results: Elected officials’ willingness to address antisemitism
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Chronicle poll results: Elected officials’ willingness to address antisemitism

We asked our readers if they think our local elected officials are willing to effectively address antisemitism. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Do you think our local elected officials are willing to effectively address antisemitism here?” Of the 260 people who responded, 77% said no, 60 % said yes, and 7% had no opinion. Comments were submitted by 83 people. A few follow.

The leadership is now unapologetically ultra-progressive — as opposed to the traditionally liberal leaders that I supported and trusted.

Antisemitism isn’t something that can be legislated away or punished into submission by the mayor or city council. Hate of other people because of their race, religion or identity is due to ignorance and intolerance. The remedy is education, exposure and dialogue. We need to be the city of bridges, not walls. That starts with a willingness for the Jewish community to be open to
conversation with other groups.

I am so disappointed in Mayor Gainey’s inability to unequivocally condemn the antisemitic tenor of the “pro-Palestine” protests and vandalism that have become increasingly prevalent in our community. Unfortunately, he and his administration seem crippled by both-sidesism, and a misguided desire to let these law-breaking vandals get off scot-free, without facing consequences. Talk about privilege.

Some, like Fetterman, are. Some, like Summer Lee, aren’t.

Although I voted for most of the current officials, I think their support of the Jewish community, especially in regard to antisemitism, is lackluster at best. They’ve pretty much left support of the Jewish community to itself.

Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh, for the most part, no. While no elected officials will come right out and say something blatantly antisemitic, they either ignore the issue, try to impose their definition of antisemitism, or make statements that can be perceived as anti-Jewish.

The young progressive Democrats are as bad as MAGA Republicans, causing divisions in the community.

Let’s go with a hard “no” for Lee, Innamorato and Hallam — but a resounding “yes” for Salisbury, Gainey and Frankel.

Fetterman, Frankel, Salisbury, Heisler. These are the only Democrats in local politics that have the interest of Jewish community safety in mind. As for the rest, it’s a sliding scale from Mayor Gainey, who condemns antisemitism but won’t call out the individuals perpetrating it by name or the acts themselves, to Summer Lee, who also condemns antisemitism but then fuels it with her actions and statements, to Bethany Hallam, who celebrated the Oct. 7 attack. It’s a sad and scary state of affairs regarding representation for the Jewish community these days.

They are fine to show up for photo ops or claim to be against antisemitism from the right, but have a blind spot (and worse) with respect to antisemitism from the left, e.g, from so-called “pro-Palestinian” bigots.

Yes, I believe local officials are “willing” to address antisemitism, but I am skeptical that they have the ability to do so or that they can get to the population that needs it the most. PJC

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