• FBI and SPD tracking hate-based death threats against Jewish City Council candidate

    By: Gary Horcher

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - The FBI and Seattle police are investigating explicit online anti-Semitic death threats against Seattle City Council District 2 candidate Ari Hoffman.

    Hoffman says Seattle police detectives were the first to inform him about threatening posts, appearing on the website "8Chan" which describes itself as the "darkest reaches of the internet."

    "I came home from synagogue and there was a card on my door from SPD criminal investigations saying please call us," Hoffman said.

    "The original post was a picture of my family from my campaign pitch, and some of the comments are directed at my oldest son," he said.

    Hoffman said the FBI was informed of the threats by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) which tracks extremist web activity on websites like 8Chan.

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    The original post said: "This (expletive) is running for Seattle city council [The individual] lives on my street, and has an Israeli flag hanging out front. What is the move?"

    Among the replies: "Kill [the individual]. Literally kill [the individual]. Burn the flag along with [the individual], dead or alive. There is no victory without violence..."

    Others urged the use of Molotov cocktails on Hoffman's home. 

    Hoffman says sadly, he's learned to expect harassment for his Jewish heritage.

    "This is something I've dealt with my whole life," Hoffman said. In New York I dealt with this, in Seattle I deal with this. My synagogue has been swastika’d several times before, and there was even an attempted bombing of my synagogue in New York.''

    The FBI told KIRO 7 they're aware of the threats, saying in a statement: "We are aware of the situation and are in regular contact with local authorities, and will take appropriate action if information develops to suggest a potential federal violation."

    Hoffman said as a candidate for city council, Seattle police offered extra security for him and his family.

    "There's going to be a more increased presence and people are going to notice it," he said. "It's upsetting that it's the kind of thing that's going to be a first impression of walking into a campaign event is increased security, but unfortunately it's necessary."

    Hoffman says the threats will "firm his resolve" to keep his campaign based on solving issue-based problems, instead of focusing on opponents.

    "There's so many things that we all agree on, or that people can find a compromise on and work together through," he said.  "Unfortunately it's these fringe groups on the sides that make life more difficult. It would be really great if all the other candidates came out and condemned this. Their silence is deafening.''
     

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