Boston councilman faces backlash over ‘anti-Semitic’ tweet


The councilman apologized, but critics say the tweet plays into anti-Semitic tropes.

Kendra Lara. Picture File

A Boston city councilwoman is facing backlash after sending out a tweet on Thursday morning that critics say plays on anti-Semitic tropes.

First-term Councilman Kendra Lara, who is from and represents the Jamaica Plain ward, tweeted and then deleted a tweet that read “you let all the Zionists shake you. phew!”

After facing criticism, Lara Explain that the tweet was a reaction to the 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruling this week. The court ruling, according to the Associated Press, upheld an Arkansas law that required contractors in the state to promise not to boycott Israel.

The appeals court ruled that the state warrant did not violate the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

The Arkansas law is a reaction to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for boycotts of Israeli businesses to protest the country’s treatment of Palestinians as second-class citizens.

“I maintain my disappointment with the decision of the Eighth Circuit Courts and believe that conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism will ultimately prevent us from being truly in solidarity with both the Jewish people and the Palestinians,” Lara tweeted.

But Lara also apologized, saying she was educated on why her phrasing played on harmful Jewish stereotypes.

“It has been made clear to me that the use of the phrase ‘shake ’em’ reinforces anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish people. Although it was not my intention, the impact – especially at a time when we are seeing alarming rates of violence against Jews – is the same and I should have known,” she tweeted.

An April report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) indicated that anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts hit an all-time high in 2021, increasing 48% from 2020.

The report also showed that the growth of anti-Semitic incidents in New England exceeded that of the rest of the country in 2021, with New England seeing a 42% increase while the country as a whole saw a 34% increase. .

These incidents included the stabbing of a rabbi in Brighton and the use of Holocaust-related terms by the Duxbury High School football team.

Robert Trestan, New England Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, explained the problem with Lara’s tweet in an interview with The Boston Globe Thursday morning.

The statement, he said, “seems unprecedented and quite shocking from an elected Boston City official.” There are ways to be pro-Palestinian without being anti-Semitic, he said.

“When you write ‘shake up’, for members of the Jewish community there is an immediate connection to tropes about money and power. ‘Shake up’ is linked to some form of bullying.

As for the 8th Circuit Court’s decision, the entire Court of Appeals overturned a 2-1 decision last year by a three-judge panel that found that the obligation to covenant not boycotting Israel was unconstitutional, AP reported.

Arkansas time had filed a lawsuit to block the law, which says state contractors must cut their fees by 20% if they don’t sign the recognizance, AP reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the Timeannounced its intention to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.


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