San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen at City Hall
San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen at City Hall

S.F. supervisors pass anti-Semitism resolution

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week unanimously passed a resolution condemning “verbal and violent anti-Semitic assaults, both nationally and in the Bay Area,” and vowing to “stand in solidarity with Jewish and other communities whenever they are targeted or marginalized.”

The resolution, introduced by District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen last month, cites the “hundreds of incidents of anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation in the last few months throughout the country targeting individuals perceived to be of Jewish ethnic and/or religious ancestry.”

It links these incidents to a rise in “discriminatory acts targeting people of diverse backgrounds, including Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, Latinos, women, immigrants… and LGBT people.”

Jewish Community Relations Council executive director Abby Michelson Porth, who helped draft the language of the resolution, was delighted with the outcome.

“It is very significant that the [supervisors] unanimously passed a resolution addressing the increase of anti-Semitism in San Francisco and beyond,” she told J. “It comes from across the political spectrum, from far left to far right, and the board’s clarion call for inclusivity is deeply meaningful.”

The resolution, passed at the supervisors’ July 25 meeting, also condemns anti-Jewish rhetoric and acts, such as cemetery desecrations and assaults, calling out by name anti-Semites on the right: specifically white nationalists and racist groups.

It lumps together other anti-Semites, including radical Islamists, and anti-Zionists such as the Chicago Dyke March organizers (who kicked out Jewish marchers on June 24 during Chicago Pride weekend for displaying Stars of David), as “groups across the political spectrum.”

As a nonbinding measure, the resolution does not mention any steps the Board of Supervisors intends to take to fight anti-Semitism, nor does it make mention of Zionism, anti-Zionism or Israel. Instead, in carefully chosen language, it excoriates “anti-Semitic discrimination rooted in efforts to delegitimize Jewish self-determination.”

Porth noted that her organization “is fighting against the exclusion of Jews and those who support Israel’s existence every day.”

Other community leaders praised Ronen and the board for tackling the issue.

Rick Zbur, executive director of the LGBT rights group Equality California, said in an open letter to the supervisors that the resolution “sends a resounding message of inclusion, engagement and acceptance that San Francisco has long championed,” and that “includes its Jewish residents as part and parcel of the rainbow of diversity” that is San Francisco.

During public comments at a board meeting earlier in the month, Anti-Defamation League Central Pacific regional director Seth Brysk spoke in favor of the resolution, saying it “represents a good start towards addressing the recent surge of anti-Semitism.”

In a separate statement, Ronen said, “Alongside anti-Semitism, we have witnessed a radical jump in racial discrimination, misogyny, anti-LGBT bias and Islamophobia. That’s why I was proud to work with our local Jewish Community Relations Council to develop a resolution that would respond to this rise of anti-Semitism and reaffirm the City’s commitment to inclusion.”

The resolution now moves on to Mayor Ed Lee for his signature.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.