A BLATANT DISPLAY OF DISRESPECT AT ASSEMBLY MEETING
The elderly rabbi looked puzzled for a moment. Anchorage Assembly member Chris Constant had just described a scene from the Holocaust to him, and was asking his opinion as though it was a fair point of policy: Should we officially treat the homeless like the Nazis treated the Jews?
Rabbi Yosef Greenberg stumbled to try to understand what the elected official was getting at, as the younger man laid out a clearly illegal plan to herd the homeless and put them behind fences in Constant’s neighborhood.
Was he serious? Or was this Assembly member just badgering him? Greenberg was trying to process what he was being told in what had to have been one of the most bizarre exchanges in a very long, very testy Assembly meeting on Tuesday.
Across the country, bigotry against people of faith is becoming normalized in progressive politics. In a trend that is finally being recognized by moderates, an undercurrent of anti-semitism is bubbling on the Left, not just with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The Squad in Congress, but at local city councils and assemblies. Anti-semitism coming from the progressive side of the political fulcrum is now routine.
Constant was openly confronting Greenberg, who was simply appearing in the Assembly Chambers to protect the Lubavitch Jewish Center of Alaska from being overrun by criminals.
Greenberg had been describing his concerns over a plan to purchase a hotel one block from the Jewish Center’s preschool, museum, and cultural center, and turn it into a drug rehabilitation and shelter for over 100 people.
Greenberg started his three-minute testimony by thanking the Assembly for its compassion in trying to solve Anchorage’s epidemic of homelessness. However, he said the particular property the Assembly wants to purchase is in a family neighborhood, and would make his congregation feel unsafe. They already feel unsafe, he said, because there are so many vagrants around the neighborhood, and often using the Jewish Center’s property for their encampments and drug use.
That’s when Assemblyman Constant interrupted Greenberg’s testimony and read aloud a letter he’d gotten from a constituent who suggested a piece of property on Third Avenue should have a fence put around it and the homeless put inside of it. What did Greenberg think of that idea? Constant asked.
The rabbi was clearly taken aback, and for a moment didn’t seem to comprehend the theater that Constant was engaged in. Constant is an expert at political theater, but this time, was taking it too far.
Greenberg explained he is not an expert in homelessness but whatever is done should be done with compassion, and he is aware that Anchorage is struggling with a problem that is happening across the country.
Then, he realized this was a reference to the Holocaust, and that Constant was goading him.
“So the way might be, send them all to one place and put a fence around them,” Constant said, on the record during the Assembly meeting on Tuesday.
Constant was referring to Hitler’s “final solution,” a Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II and he wanted to make sure the point was being absorbed by the elderly rabbi.
The rabbi finally understood what Constant was saying, and he didn’t like it.
“I really don’t understand what Mr. Constant is trying to point out. It was kind of offensive what you said. Disrespectful and offensive. I didn’t send you this email,” Greenberg said, of the note that Constant had read into the record.
“Why are you asking me about emails someone else sent you?”
Assembly Chair Felix Rivera struggled to maintain order as the audience, there to protest the sweeping shelter plan being proposed, was starting to become restless and angry.
The liberal members of the Assembly did not rebuke Constant for baiting Rabbi Greenberg. No one rose to call out Constant, who has at times said he has Jewish heritage in his family.
Constant has a history of bigotry against people of faith, as seen by his history of social media posts:
Constant was unopposed during the most recent Anchorage municipal election and used his large campaign purse to aid in the reelection of his fellow members on the Assembly: Pete Petersen, Felix Rivera, Suzanne LaFrance, and Austin Quinn-Davidson. Perhaps this is why none of these Assembly members would denounce the man who helped them win their seats.
Assembly member Meg Zalatel, who earlier had harshly admonished Assembly member Jamie Allard for making a motion to discontinue the mayor’s emergency powers, sat mute. Constant was never admonished by his liberal allies.
Only Allard, the member representing Eagle River, spoke up and asked the rabbi to explain why he feels the Red Lion Hotel on 36th Avenue is the wrong place for a drug rehabilitation center and shelter.
The rest of the Assembly and the mayor stayed muzzled in their face masks, not willing to challenge Constant. (Conservative Crystal Kennedy was appearing by phone, and not able to witness directly what had happened.)
FROM CITY HALL TO THE NATION’S CAPITOL
The far Left, including Antifa at the fringes, is increasingly posturing as anti-Israel with its BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement to restore Israeli land to Palestinians.
Black Lives Matter has also become increasingly anti-semitic, with its directly stated anti-Israel platform. The Women’s March opposes the Nation of Israel, as well, and has incorporated BDS into its platform.
This week, Bari Weiss resigned from the New York Times editorial page, saying she had experience anti-semitism from the progressives at the newspaper. She had been called a Nazi by members of the reporting and editing staff.
Weiss’ letter of resignation is posted on her website.
But it’s not just at the national level. Tuesday’s display of faith-baiting by a sitting lawmaker in Anchorage, Alaska, shows the problem of anti-semitism is just below the surface on the Left all the way down to City Hall.
What’s the difference between local socialists and national socialists? #nothingobviously
This is being so misconstrued. He was only giving examples of what others have suggested. The person that wrote the letter is the real concern. This is also a classic “not in my backyard” mentality coming from the faith community.
ok Chris Constant, let’s put it in your neighborhood. You can wake to homeless people defecating and copulating in your yard and explain it to your entitled brat children. You can have your area trashed and spit on. You deserve it buddy. You wouldn’t want to be one of those ‘not in my neighborhood’ jerks would you?
You hang the laundry in the back yard. This is not a difficult concept.
Obviously an entrapment effort by Constant in the face of a balanced, community based protest against an ill conceived plan. Why has the quality of leadership in our assembly so degenerated. Is there no assembly member to carry the banner for a safe, faith friendly, family friendly and Hi quality of life community!! Agree with the rabbi that in the last two years the problem has magnified!!
The five Anchorage Assembly members who represent progressive politics and one of whom openly states bigotry directed at people of faith DO NOT CORRECTLY REPRESENT ANCHORAGE AND STATE OF ALASKA COMMUNITY.
Vote them out!! I have developed ZERO TOLERANCE of people who want to destroy Alaska.
Get’em Out of office!!!!!
Buy ammo. Lots and lots of ammo.
How did these horrible people get elected? Constant was bad enough but to sit there and say nothing shows their true character. I’m appalled and disgusted at our assembly and mayor.
You get what you vote for. There’s lots of older Anchorage constituents comfortable in their Tier 1 State retirements that are backing this drivel.
Not everyone with Tier 1 State retirements voted for this guy. Although I can see his point about fencing. If it’s tall enough, you could keep the consumers out but likening the Jewish population to inebriants is abrasive. But, anyone could go around a fence and access the Geneva Wood Businesses as well. These cottage industries like dulas, smaller medical supply places and reproductive health behind Red Lion should not be put under iundue stress. They have a very private, quaint productive oasis with mature trees and landscaping.. Homeless areas are not quaint, or pretty, or income producing. If designing a environmental setting that was nurturing to facillitate wellness, then city planners should think more along the lines of Post Road where the defecation, urination, fighting and live sex are kept in an area where they are not imposing on the rights of business owners. Rentals and older buildings are very available down by Post Road. Why isn’t the city assembly entertaining a more economical idea?
The average uninitiated person appears content to glorify the Sullivan Arena shelter because of unspecified “rules”, ignoring the drinking and drugging and digging through trash receptacles occurring on a daily basis throughout the periphery of the property. More importantly, its expenses are in the neighborhood of $9 million dollars per year. The monies currently funding that won’t last forever. They may not last even through the year. The anticipated operational expenses of those four properties do represent a cost savings. As for Post Road? Brother Francis and Bean’s are already isolated from useful resources, most of which are in Midtown, Mountain View and U-Med nowadays. You want to push these folks even further away, possibly miles away from the nearest bus route? The objective is clearly to get people “out of sight, out of mind” and not to get them rehabilitated and returned to normal society. That’s unacceptable.
Invoking the Holocaust with reference to any contemporary political issue is unwise. Read “The Holocaust in American Life” by Peter Novick and then think very carefully about using the Holocaust as a weapon in public discourse.
There might be some issues upon which I might differ with Rabbi Greenberg but on this one, (and probably many others) I will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with him and his congregation. Without compromise or waiver.
Assemblyman Constant was not merely “Disrespectful and offensive. “, it was a personal attack. So much for the “decorum” that Chairman Rivera espoused at the beginning of the testimony, and shame on him for allowing it. He should be censured and his action formally rebuked by the assembly.
I completely agree. The Rabbi presented a VERY respectful and thoughtful testimony so to then insult the man shortly thereafter is inexcusable to me. I can’t wait to hear the weak, insincere public apology that we will likely hear shortly. The smug, condescending attitude of this group is over the top. They know that they have the votes to do whatever they want and that there is little that we can do until the next election. If you followed the rest of the assembly meeting you heard just how much they like the vote by mail, and now want to even be able to give you the stamp to mail in your ballot. This strategy will prove effective if the conservative element in our city gets out the vote as well as they do.
How do we recall these blantly racist, regilous hating Assembly members who are so openly devisive?
Would Mr. Constant even consider asking such a question to an Iman from the local mosque?
How shameful that none of the other liberal members of our Assembly or our mayor didn’t call out Mr. Constant and let him go as if it’s perfectly normal to accuse a Rabbi of espousing Nazi methods of control.
Constant should be removed from office for his anti-semitic comments.
I have told you all make them “BOND ” there selves then collect on that bond whereby there seat becomes vacant! Simple is as simple does !
So Constant tried to shame the Rabbi? Good luck with that. That wonderful man is a righteous and faithful man of God and a good neighbor who cares deeply about this city and the welfare of all people. When I was employed at NorthStar the Rabbi volunteered his time to council and teach those in the drug and alcohol recovery program. I hope the voters give Constance the slap he has earned in the next election.
Christopher Constant is a bully with a history of verbally abusing those with whom he disagrees, just as well the general public is made aware of this fact. He is not fit for public office.
If a “conservative” has said such things there would be no end of it in the leftist run media!
Just when I think these clowns can’t stoop any lower, they do. And last time I checked, our illustrious Mayor was a Jew. Where are his comments admonishing the words of Chris Constant? Crickets I guess. He’ll take one for the team if it means he can continue to destroy our city. I taste vomit in my mouth.
This is what happens when people are told to wear a mask. It’s time for our tremendous President to move strongly and powerfully to stop this violence, before it spreads to other communities and other states. It will be brutal and vicious, but soon it will just disappear. Remember, Ivanka is Jewish.
To Chris Constant. Just read your campaign statement…excerpt from the ALCHEMIST …fall seven times, get up the 8th time. You admire that thinking.
You have fallen the 8th time. Chris, you’re a self- defeatist and thus a bully who constantly fears defeat. We understand your fears. Well earned.
You may now apologize and then immediately resign from the Anchorage Assembly.
I recommend many hours of community service as your punishment. Put on that orange jacket and start cleaning your district. There might be streets and sidewalks that need a bit of tidying.
And when you start serving your community in a positive way, you might just start rising as a man who is struggling to get up his 8th time.
A good leader Chris, is a very very strong person.
The left calls conservatives NAZIs but its the left that’s always invoking anti-jew biases. Its called projecting.
The left is intolerant of any opposing viewpoint. Read up about the tolerance that the New York Times has for one of their own who dares question their orthodoxy. Bari Weiss recently resigned from The New York Times, you can find her open resignation letter here bariweiss.com/resignation-letter
A partial excerpt from her letter “the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.” She is obviously speaking directly to the powers that be at The New York Times, but this general line of thinking pervades the thoughts and actions of the left.
The rabbi’s comments were very thoughtful and deliberate. I believe he speaks for the majority of Anchorage residents who realize that our homeless population is one of our most tragic issues. He may not know the solutions, but he knows that throwing money at the problem and in the process disrupting many safe and peaceful neighborhoods is not the solution. Our assembly is both immature and cavalier with the public purse without having gone through due process. They should curtail their reckless ways now and seek and study more reasoned solutions.
All the so called experts in Anchorage. Maybe we should hear from the homeless……at least there not muffled when they speak. Think about it.
Imagine…..all this started from the cornholio virus.
On one hand you have unrestricted street squatting, on the other hand you have Literally Hitler. I wonder if the Assembly has heard of false dichotomy, or maybe they just think we haven’t.
The only thing about Constant is that he is constantly attempting to denigrate anyone that has an idea that did not originate with him or support his narrative. The assembly and mayor’s office is a leftist dictatorship that has zero interest in the opinion of the people paying the bill for their ineffective programs.
While I agree that prayers are worthless, you know that old saying “two hands working together are better than a thousand hands in prayer” But he doesn’t have to be such a — about it…
Nice anti-religious bigotry on display there comrade.
In order to support the allegation made in the headline of this opinion piece, the writer would have to define her terms, and then show the connection between her subject(s) and the now defined offense.
She did neither.
One definition of anti-Semitism is “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish” (Anti-Defamation League); an anti-Semite “a person who has a hostile, prejudiced attitude toward Jews” (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary).
Neither Anchorage Assembly member Chris Constant, nor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The Squad, nor the progressive side of the political fulcrum – (that really ballooned!) – has engaged in anti-Semitism, as it is defined. (Opposition to some Israeli policies? Of course. No nation state is above reproach, and legitimate criticism of Israel is not anti-Jewish. But I digress…)
American Jews are overwhelmingly Leftists. The Jewish vote was 79% Democratic according to the National Election Pool 2018 national exit polls, as reported by NBC.com. The AP’s VoteCast reports the number as 71%, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Are these all self-hating Jews?
Some other unsupported allegations made by the writer: “Anchorage Assembly member Chris Constant had just described a scene from the Holocaust”; and “Constant was referring to Hitler’s “final solution”. I could just as easily say “Constant had just described a scene from the American internment of Japanese Americans”, or he ” was referring to the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrants”. Mind reading and insinuation is fun and easy! No proof, no accountability, no limitation on projecting!
Chris Constant’s remark was rude, inappropriate, and ill-conceived. But in no way did it meet the definition of anti-Semitic.
Then why did Constant wait until a Jewish Rabbi was addressing the assembly to bring up his concerns about this letter? And why did he then apologize the very next day? Not antisemitic…sheesh.
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