Kendra Lara Hicks is a City Councilor for Boston’s District 6 (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Mission Hill) and proudly identifies as a Democratic Socialist, following the footsteps of AOC and Rashida Tlaib. She drew massive outrage last month after tweeting an antisemitic trope claiming Jews control the U.S. government. On June 23rd, in response to an appellate court ruling that upheld an Arkansas law requiring state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel, Lara tweeted “ya’ll are letting the Zionists SHAKE YOU DOWN.”
The notion that Jews yield disproportionate influence over the media, courts, government, and other public spheres is a longstanding antisemitic stereotype and is deemed antisemitic by the U.S. Department of State adopted IHRA working definition of antisemitism. It is also often used by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Holocaust deniers. After being contacted by numerous progressive Jews complaining of her tweet, she acknowledged her harmful phrasing of Jewish control; however, she kept the original tweet up for hours until finally deleting later that evening.
In her initial convoluted explanation, she did not apologize but instead outrageously claimed “conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism will ultimately prevent us from being in true solidarity with both Jewish people and Palestinians.” Kandra Lara fails to realize the true definition of Zionism – the right for Jews to live freely and autonomously in their own state – or that the vast majority of Jews are ardent Zionists.
In another Twitter post that same day, she added – “I was raised by two Jewish mentors who taught me to be anti-Zionist and Pro-Palestine at a very young age (15/16) so the idea that anti-Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic is incredibly reductionist to me so I didn’t even consider how my word choice could inadvertently be reinforcing.” Once again, the IHRA definition of antisemitism defines comments like Lara’s as inherently antisemitic – Jews have a right to their own self determination and are not at fault for antisemitism.
This by no means was the first time Lara posted in a derogatory way referencing Zionists (aka Jews). In a June 2021 tweet she stated “oh the blue check Zionists have found me. *mutes tweet*.
Prior to being elected to her current position in Boston, Kendra Lara served as the “Director of Radical Philanthropy” at the RESIST, a foundation that has previously granted funds to the Black Panther Party and BLM.
Under Kendra’s leadership, funds were donated to antisemitic and dangerous organizations like Within our Lifetime (WOL).
Members of WOL – Saadah Masoud and Waseem Awawdeh – both have frightening pasts of physically assaulting Jews and have each been charged with hate crimes and assault charges in separate incidents. Furthermore, WOL’s founder – Nerdeen Kiswani – was named our 2020 ‘Antisemite of the Year’ after threatening to set a black man on fire for wearing an IDF sweatshirt and is currently named in a Department of Education Title VI complaint alleging antisemitism.
Kendra Lara’ antisemitism last month was not an isolated incident; this elected governmental official has a history of not only expressing her bias towards Jews but actually financially rewarding those that seek to harm the Jewish people.
StopAntisemitism needs YOUR help to stay vigilant in keeping the Councilor’s promise of a “rigorous commitment from me when it comes to unlearning anti-Semitism.” We must work together to keep these types of antisemitic tropes – from anyone – off of social media platforms.
If you suspect a post to be antisemitic, please report it to us via our website or call/text the hotline our hotline (877) 411-HATE.