Pennsylvania Rivals Doug Mastriano and Josh Shapiro Both Shared Forums with Notorious Antisemites
Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor Doug Mastriano is under fire for his alliance with Andrew Torba, CEO of the social media platform Gab, who regards the US as a “Judeo-Bolshevik” society controlled by “Jewish supremacist special interest groups.” Mastriano paid Torba a $5,000 consulting fee, intending to use Gab – largely a hangout for neo-Nazis and religious bigots – to reach voters. When his ties to Torba began to damage his campaign, he deleted his Gab account and distanced himself with a belated and weak statement.
Torba has reposted Gab users’ comments that: depict Jews as all-controlling and killers of Jesus, laud the site for its “differing opinions” on the Holocaust, describe Israel as “in rebellion against God,” and assert “Talmudic zionists want to crush the Gentiles…” Gab members recently threatened State Rep. Dan Frankel for condemning their hate incitement, and attacked the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle for reporting on it.
Meanwhile, Mastriano’s rival has a similar scandal that has not been reported on at all.
Pennsylvania Attorney-General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, is running ads highlighting Mastriano’s extremist ties. Yet Shapiro appears to be throwing rocks from a glass house, in light of his participation in the 2019 Netroots Nation convention, where his fellow speakers included glorifiers – and alleged funders – of Palestinian terrorist atrocities. At the gathering of 3,600 “progressive” Democratic Party activists, a T-shirt for sale declared:
and so on, down the list of evils that must be eradicated, eliciting outrage from Jewish leaders.
Among Shapiro’s fellow speakers was Leah Muskin-Pierret, national advocacy director for the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). A 2018 Tablet magazine expose alleged that the USCPR funnels donations to Hamas and other terror gangs. The Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund and American victims of terrorism sued the USCPR, based on the Tablet investigative report.
According to her Netroots Nation bio, Muskin-Pierret organized with the violent, terror-supporting Students for Justice in Palestine, whose chapters in North America, according to a Canary Mission report, “are notorious for harboring anti-Semites who mock the Holocaust, show support for Hitler and wish death on Jews.” SJP’s activities have included “disrupting Holocaust memorial days, comparing Jews to Nazis on social media and hosting radical speakers who make light of the national Jewish tragedy.”
The Jewish Journal reported that Muskin-Pierret’s USCPR “has also celebrated convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh…” Odeh was found guilty of the bombing murder of Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner in 1969.
Another fan of the double murderer is Rep. Rashida Tlaib. When Odeh faced deportation from the US for immigration fraud in 2017, Tlaib tweeted her support, expressing excitement that Black Lives Matter was rallying behind the killer of Joffe and Kanner.
Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar were among Josh Shapiro’s fellow speakers at the convention. Shortly thereafter, they attempted to visit Israel on a trip sponsored by an organization that promotes the work of neo-Nazis and accuses Israel of harvesting organs from Haitian earthquake victims and Ukrainian children. Clifford D. May wrote:
They were planning to meet with individuals and groups directly tied to terrorism and anti-Semitism…
Organizing their visit was Miftah, an organization that in 2013 published an article alleging that Jews use Christian blood for their Passover matzot—a very old and very sick libel.
Miftah also published “an American neo-Nazi treatise” called “Who Rules America: The Alien Grip on Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken.” Apparently, to Tlaib and Omar, white supremacy in defense of Jew-hatred is no vice.
Christian blood in matzo. Organ stealing. What’s next – Jews poisoning the wells?
Yes, we’ve got that, too…
When Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill addressed Democratic activists at the 2019 Netroots Nation, it was shortly after he accused Israelis of poisoning water, a story first reported on this website.
At the convention’s “Embedding Palestinian Rights” panel, the terrorism-inciting professor labeled America’s major news outlets “Zionist organizations” and claimed Israel is “a white supremacist, ethno-nationalist project.”
Fellow panelist Noura Erakat told attendees, “the whole land [of Israel] is occupied.” She has objected to Israeli-Arab peace, and her Netroots Nation bio includes a fictitious reference to “Israel’s wars on Gaza.” The panel was moderated by Yousef Munayyer, executive director of USCPR and an admirer of the amazingly popular Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh. Joining them was Sandra Tamari, whose rantings about “Jewish supremacy” echo the rhetoric of Andrew Torba.
Terror enthusiast Zahra Billoo addressed two panels. Billoo is the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) office. Sen. Chuck Schumer has noted that “we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism.”
At the previous year’s convention, she “jokingly commented that she participated in ‘all the terrorist orgs you could imagine!’” according to a report by the Zionist Organization of America. She recently told a Muslim audience that mainstream Jewish organizations, including synagogues, are their “enemies.”
Billoo’s fellow speakers in 2018 included Israel-demonizer Rafael Shimunov; Ramah Kudaimi, who tweeted, “f**k israel every day until the fall of the zionist regime;” and Ahlan Jbara, a CAIR official who also served on the board of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network, which mourns the failure of Arab nations to annihilate the Israelis in 1948 as a catastrophe. Serving as AAAN’s associate director for years was none other than Rasmea Odeh, whose connections to Netroots Nation seem endless.
The 2016 Netroots Nation convention featured Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal on the Israeli Apartheid panel. A column by P. David Hornik on PJ Media ranked Abunimah as number 4 of the “Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism.” Co-panelist Blumenthal’s antisemitism is so extreme that other anti-Israel zealots shun him.
Also included at the 2016 gathering were Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who would share a stage with Rasmea Odeh the following year; and Linda Sarsour, who would do the same. Sarsour was one of two close allies of Rev. Louis Farrakhan who addressed the 2016 convention. The other was Keith Ellison, a former Nation of Islam spokesman who as a congressman joined Farrakhan in a secret meeting with Iran’s president. Previously, Farrakhan visited Iran and vowed support for the mullahs, declaring, “God will destroy America at the hands of Muslims.” In 2019, Ellison returned to Netroots Nation and spoke on the same panel as Josh Shapiro.
Huffington Post writer Eric Lurio attended the 2017 Netroots Nation convention, only to be ejected – yes, ejected – for stating that Israel should not be destroyed and replaced by “Palestine.”
The convention is an outgrowth of the notoriously antisemitic four-million-member Daily Kos website. Its commentaries, such as one characterizing President Trump as a puppet of Israel, promote the same myth of nefarious Jewish control found on the far-right Gab. Charming commentaries have included: “Iran Has a Right to Attack Israel,” “Imagine a World Without Israel,” “Apartheid Israel Trying to Start World War 3,” and “Why Do I Find Israeli Troop Deaths Satisfying?”
Netroots Nation’s bigotry has been on display going all the way back to the 2007 convention (then known as YearlyKos) that featured presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton along with two of the world’s most malicious defamers of Israel, John Mearsheimer and Juan Cole.
The media has been incredibly silent about the significance of this alliance. In a rare exception, an August 1, 2007 Washington Times op-ed, Robert Goldberg tried to warn the candidates of what they were walking into, highlighting the website’s obsessive and violent antisemitic rhetoric.
So it appears the far-left, “anti-Zionist” bigot wing of the Democratic Party hijacked the mainstream a long time ago. Sponsors of this year’s convention included Comcast NBC Universal, the Democratic Governors Association, the Democratic National Committee, and YouTube. Also on the sponsor list was Nation magazine, whose ‘Palestine’ correspondent Mohammed El-Kurd recently promoted a Nazi-like cartoon and has celebrated Palestinian terrorist slaughter of Jews.
Shapiro’s running mate Austin Davis took part in this year’s convention, joining Rep. Omar and other speakers in delivering the closing keynote on August 20. One of the convention’s highlights was a documentary glorifying supporters of the terrorist-linked boycott intended to destroy Israel.
The participation of Josh Shapiro and Austin Davis at Netroots Nation helped legitimize and empower the same extremist hatred they claim to oppose.
Meanwhile, in the Republican Party, the Mastriano-Torba alliance is not an isolated incident. Jarrin Jackson, a candidate for Oklahoma State Senate who said “the Jews” are proof that “evil exists,” received the most votes in the June 28 primary. He was endorsed by Mark W. Finchem, nominee for Arizona Secretary of State, and Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers. Kari Lake, nominee for Arizona governor, belatedly rescinded her endorsement of the candidate the day before his defeat in the August 23 runoff election. The Gateway Pundit, a conservative Republican website read by millions of people daily, celebrated Jackson as a pious Christian hero.
Jew-haters of right and left are strange-bedfellow twins.
We live in a time when powerful elected officials like Mastriano and Shapiro hobnob not merely with ordinary antisemites, but with the worst of the worst. And Democrats and Republicans have a way of seeing the other side’s coziness with bigotry, but not their own.
Edward Davis is a freelance writer.