Press

Wall Street Journal

‘Squad’ Member Summer Lee Face Primary Challenge Over Criticism of Israel, April 21, 2024

Other residents in Squirrel Hill formed a nonprofit in October called the Beacon Coalition to evaluate the track records of candidates nationally related to antisemitism and their support for the Jewish community. The group has also endorsed Patel.

Washington Post

A ‘Squad’ member’s primary tests shifting politics of Israel-Gaza war, April 22, 2024

“Some people are not interested in combating antisemitism, and they’re not interested in hearing and talking with and representing the Jewish community in the same way they necessarily are other communities,” said Jeremy Kazzaz, a member of the club’s board and the president of the Beacon Coalition, a recently launched organization that aims to provide “voter education on issues of concern to the Jewish American community.”

90.5 WESA

As Congress clamps down on campus protests, Democrats Bob Casey and Summer Lee are on opposing sides, May 3, 2024

And last week Jeremy Kazzaz, the founder of a new Pittsburgh-based advocacy group seeking to raise political awareness of antisemitism, wrote to city officials to object to protesters taking possession of the plaza without a permit.
“The apparent exemption granted to the encampment undermines the integrity of our legal system and sets a troubling precedent for future demonstrations,” he said in a statement that also decried the city’s slow response to antisemitic graffiti that appeared outside a North Side home last month.
“If the city of Pittsburgh does not enforce the law objectively and respond promptly to incidents of hate,” he wrote, “it risks sending a message that hate crimes against certain groups are permitted.”

NBC News

The Jewish vote could play a huge role in 2024. Pennsylvania is about to put up an early test, April 23, 2024

Jeremy Kazzaz, a Pittsburgher leading a new Jewish voter group, said the pushback Lee faces isn’t so much about Israel but about what he called an unwillingness to meet with constituents who don’t share her views.
“She finds the individuals who agree with her already who are anti-Zionist, who are extremist or fringe of the left of politics, and she will hold them up on a pedestal while spreading things” that, Kazzaz said, make local Jews “less safe.”

CBS

FBI investigating antisemitic graffiti found outside Pittsburgh home , April 22, 2024

“I think your Jewish neighbors here in Pittsburgh feel lonely,” said Jeremy Kazzaz, the President of the Beacon Coalition… “We’re looking to see action to make sure this sort of behavior is stopped and perpetrators are held accountable,” Kazzaz said.

Forward

Can you address antisemitism at the ballot box?, April 12, 2024

And in addition to its local focus, Beacon is also distinct among groups fighting antisemitism because it manages a political action committee. While lots of PACs spend money to support pro-Israel candidates, the Beacon Coalition is the first group I’ve seen that plans to support politicians primarily on the basis of whether or not they’re antisemitic.

Jewish Chronicle

Beacon Coalition sheds light on candidates’ positions regarding Jewish interests, April 5, 2024

After Oct. 7, some of our local politicians had very strong opinions, it turns out, about Israel and the Jewish people,” Beacon volunteer Rebecca Elhassid said. “Some of those were really harmful.”
Elhassid said that if voters had known a candidate’s position on antisemitism, their race may have turned out differently.
“Nobody’s ever asked the right questions,” she said. “Nobody ever thought to ask an Allegheny County Council person what they think about the Jewish people. So, when an Allegheny County Council person comes out and posts Hamas videos, that was very surprising.”
The Beacon Coalition, founded in October, will serve “as an independent voice to identify where politicians stand on issues related to the rights and wellbeing of the Jewish American community, regardless of political party and their other positions,” according to the organization’s website.

WPXI

Pittsburgh Jews hope to convince lawmakers with sweet treats to change primary election date, December 10, 2023

The group is reminding lawmakers to pass a bill that would change the date of the state’s primary election next year. If falls on April 23, the first day of Passover for Jews… “It’s extremely important, always, but particularly in this moment, to not disenfranchise voters, not exclude a particular group of voters,” Elhassid said.

Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Jews concerned about next spring’s primary falling during Passover, November 17, 2023

Elhassid said failing to move the primary date to avoid a Passover conflict would set a bad precedent for any group that has a religious or cultural conflict with future election dates. And for Pittsburgh Jews, she said, there is a strong desire for action to be taken in the wake of a string of antisemitic incidents in the city.
“We don’t want to be disenfranchised in any election, and right now there is even more of a desire to make sure our voices are heard,” Elhassid said.

Jewish Chronicle

Write-in candidate challenges Allegheny Council member whose social media posts seemed to celebrate Hamas, October 31, 2023

“Jews in Allegheny County and worldwide understood immediately that responses like Hallam’s would make them unsafe wherever they lived, no matter their relationship to Israel, simply because they are Jewish,” Knoll said in a news release. “In the weeks since the war began, protestors who share Hallam’s support for Hamas have taken to the streets, threatening and committing violence against Jews and Jewish spaces. In my own neighborhood, incidents of antisemitic intimidation are increasing. And still Hallam has not backed away from her initial statements.”