July 21, 2023 — San Diego
Re: Commissioner’s Comments at County Human Relations Commission on July 18, 2023
From Sara E. Brown, PhD, Regional Director, American Jewish Committee; Fabienne Perlov, Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League, San Diego and Imperial County; and Heidi Gantwerk, President and CEO, Jewish Federation of San Diego
There is no room for hate in San Diego, especially on the Leon L. Williams San Diego County Human Relations Commission.
The American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League of San Diego and Imperial County, and Jewish Federation of San Diego strongly condemn the antisemitic and hateful statement made by a commissioner at the July 18, 2023 meeting.
Hateful statements toward any group are never acceptable. Silence is not an option.
We are appalled that the commissioner’s statement was made in a body established “to promote positive human relations, respect and the integrity of every individual regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or citizenship status.”
This statement is representative of the historical and false accusation of modern blood libel/antisemitic tropes, which have led to horrific violence, destruction, persecution, and massacres of Jewish people and communities.
These remarks are part of a growing manifestation of hatred and bias against the Jewish community in the United States, California and San Diego County. ADL’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents saw a 36% increase in incidents in 2022 – the highest level ever recorded. And, AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America report found nine in 10 Jews and the general public surveyed believe antisemitism is a problem in the U.S. and affects society as a whole.
We call on the Human Relations Commission to take immediate action to address the commissioner’s abhorrent statement by undergoing commission-wide training, education and dialogue to meet its mission as an inclusive and bridge-building entity.
We can and must do better as a county and community.
Editor’s Note: The official video recording of the Leon L. Williams San Diego County Human Relations Commission meeting on July 18, 2023 is available at https://youtu.be/ZZ9u2HS2LwA?t=3138. The video is set to begin at 52:18 when the referenced statement is made.