Tania Fernandes Anderson, who represents Roxbury, Dorchester and part of the South End on the Boston City Council, owes Boston's Jews, veterans and current members of the military an apology. The councilor, who has previously violated the state ethics code by hiring family members to serve on her staff, has, with her recent actions desecrated the memory of the city's veterans, promoted hostility toward Jews, and has affirmed an atrocity story that has incited attacks not only against Jews throughout the world, but on American interests in the Middle East. In sum, Councilor Anderson has made life more dangerous and uncertain for Bostonians she was elected to serve.
Anderson's antics were on full display at an Oct. 18 meeting of the Boston City Council where, in addition to blocking the passage of a resolution affirming Boston's solidarity with Israel in the aftermath of Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre, she put forth a resolution of her own that called for a ceasefire and described the massacre as a "military operation." It's a clinical and disgraceful way to describe brutal slaughter that resulted in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of more than 1,400 Jews — including 13 Americans. And during the debate, Anderson, the first Muslim elected to Boston's City Council, behaved in a profoundly bigoted manner.
In particular, Anderson suggested that Israel's Islamist enemies in the Middle East are victims — and not purveyors of antisemitism — because they are themselves a semitic people — as if German theorist Wilhelm Marr didn't invent the word "antisemitism" in the 1800s to describe — and legitimize — hostility toward Jews. She also declared that "Nobody gives a crap" about the suffering of Black people and that "We only talk about (violence against) people with money and influence," an obvious effort to portray Israel's defenders — and not its enemies — as obsessed with Jews. Her incendiary comments elicited a rare rebuke from Boston's Jewish Community Relations Council, which declared that "there should be no place for perpetuating long-persistent antisemitic tropes" in civic discussion.
When the council meeting ended, a group of Fernandes's supporters – whom she kept court with after the proceedings ended — left the room chanting "Stop the Genocide" in a clear attempt to transfer shock and horror over Hamas's crimes onto Israel. The chant affirmed Fernandes's disgraceful efforts to turn Ianella Chamber in Boston City Hall, where she and her fellow councilors meet every Wednesday afternoon, into an outpost of Israel- and Jew-hatred. Ironically enough, at the same meeting, the City Council designated a "hero square" in Chinatown after Wing O. Hom, a private in the U.S. Army who was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Start after he died fighting the Nazis in World War II. In other words, Councilor Anderson affirmed an ideology that Hom gave his life to defeat. A terrible desecration.
To make matters worse, the councilor has promoted some ugly falsehoods about Israel (and by extension, the United States) on her Twitter feed. In particular, she retweeted numerous posts blaming Israel for a rocket landing on a hospital in Gaza when in fact, the rocket was launched by Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian terror group. This falsehood incited protests against American embassies overseas. This controversy was followed by Iranian attacks on U.S. military personnel in the Middle East. When people promote falsehoods about an American ally, they are legitimizing attacks against American interests overseas. This is a profoundly irresponsible thing for an elected official in the City of Boston to do.
She owes the city an apology for her antics.
Dexter Van Zile is managing editor of Focus on Western Islamism.