Pro-Palestinian museum staff strike to protest anti-hate exhibit

The workers demanded the removal of language “framing Palestinian liberation and anti-Zionism as antisemitism.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Seattle museum was forced to close its doors Wednesday after pro-Palestinian staff went on strike to protest a new anti-hate exhibit that featured the danger of bias against Jews, among other groups.

Some 25 full- and part-time employees were angered by the “Confronting Hate Together” display at the Wing Luke Museum (WLM), which the institution describes as “a pop-up exhibit that explores hate, bigotry, antisemitism, and racism in our community through a local, regional lens.”

The group, called WLM4Palestine, said in their Instagram post that it was offended by its “Zionist language,” which “conflated anti-Zionism as antisemitism.”

“Zionism has no place in our communities and being anti-Zionist goes hand in hand with our own liberation” as Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA/NHPI), wrote.

Bias against those communities, as well as the Black and Jewish ones, was the focus of the exhibit, according to the museum, which is the only art and history museum focusing on AA/NHPI societies in the U.S.

Holding the Jewish state to double standards and denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination is part of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The group wrote that the six-week display “sets a dangerous precedent of platforming colonial, white supremacist perspectives and goes against the Museum’s mission as a community-based museum advancing racial and social equity.”

Calling Jews “white” and “colonialists” while blaming them collectively as an oppressor group, a favored tactic of progressive, “woke” ideologues, is also considered antisemitism.

In a GoFundMe campaign they set up almost immediately after they walked out, the strikers wrote that WLM must only “platform community stories within an anti-colonial, anti-white supremacist framework.”

As of Sunday night, the page had garnered $4,359 of a $15,000 goal from 48 donations.

Other demands they made in order to stop their strike included the removal of all language “attempt[ing] to frame Palestinian liberation and anti-Zionism as antisemitism.”

In addition, the institution should “acknowledge” the “missing perspectives” of “Palestinians, Arabs and Muslim communities who are also experiencing an increased amount of violence, scapegoating and demonization as Zionist forces continue the genocide in Palestine.”

The museum said on its website that it shut its doors because “As an organization rooted in dialogue, we acknowledge and support the right of our staff to express their beliefs and personal truths and to this end, we are holding space for a careful and thoughtful process of listening with intent to hear multiple perspectives in pursuit of a mutual way forward.”

WLM’s director of communications, Steve McLean, indicated to the press that the museum was taking the demands under consideration.

“Certainly adding voices that may even stand in contrast to some of the voices used in this exhibit, that would be something we are interested in pursuing,” he told the Seattle Times.

Conservative talk radio host Jason Rantz panned the “cowardly museum” for talking with the “hateful staff” instead of dismissing them.

“Would they engage staffers who walked out of an exhibit calling out transphobia?” Rantz wrote in an op-ed Monday. “No, of course not. They would never tolerate hate against the transgender community.”

“But hate against Jews, even when inspired by an exhibit meant to call out antisemitism?” he continued. “Wing Luke Museum invites the new Nazis to the table for a dialogue that convinces them to return to work, rather than be fired like how any reasonable employer would respond.”