SEATTLE AIRPORT CHRISTMAS DEBACLE
Catalyst January/February Issue 2007
A rabbi from Seattle threatened to sue the Port of Seattle if an eight-foot menorah wasn’t erected at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) to “balance” Christmas trees there. Airport officials responded by removing the trees.
Don Feder of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation and Bill Donohue issued a statement to the press. They said, “Courts have held the Christmas tree is a secular symbol (though associated with the celebration of Christmas). The menorah is clearly a religious symbol. While it would have been nice for the airport to erect a menorah, it wasn’t necessitated by the presence of the trees. To the rabbi’s threat, officials at the airport reacted the way bureaucrats usually do—by choosing the path of least resistance.” Donohue and Feder called on the rabbi to withdraw his threat and called on the airport to restore the trees—whether or not any other symbol was added. They concluded, “We should all recall this is supposed to be the season of peace on earth—not animosity on earth and litigation toward man.”
After much public outcry, the rabbi agreed not to file suit and Sea-Tac restored the trees.