February 22, 2020

AJC CA Chapters Send Letters to CA Dems Leaders About Arab-American Chair’s ‘Anti-Semitic Tropes’

The American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Northern California and Los Angeles chapters sent letters to California Democratic leaders regarding recent “anti-Semitic tropes” made by the Arab-American Caucus Chair of the California Democratic Party, Iyad Afalqa.

The letters, which were sent to Acting Chair of the California Democratic party Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), pointed out that Afalqa wrote in a March 27 Facebook post that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is a “traitor whose allegiance is for [the] Fascist Israel lobby who called himself the Guardian of Israel in Congress is attacking Rep Omar who hinted at the big elephant in the room: treason of the Fascist Israel lobby that Schumer belongs to.”

They also noted that Afalqa wrote in an October 2017 post asking when the Democratic National Committee would be moving its headquarters to Tel Aviv.

“These posts are part of a broader pattern of incendiary rhetoric by Mr. Afalqa which have cause deep concern among Jewish activists and members of the California Democratic Party,” AJC Northern California Director Rabbi Serena Eisenberg and AJC Los Angeles Acting Chief of Staff Dganit Abramoff wrote. “For centuries, Jews have been accused of dual loyalty, foreign allegiance, and having a pernicious influence on their societies and governments. To call Senator Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer a ‘traitor’ and part of a lobby committing ‘treason’ is inflammatory, dangerous, and unbecoming of a California Democratic Party caucus chair.”

They added that criticism of the Israeli government can be done “without appealing to anti-Semitic tropes.”

“Mr. Afalqa’s hurtful comments are antithetical to the values that we believe the California Democratic Party stands for,” Eisenberg and Abramoff concluded the letter. “We look forward to continuing our work with you and the other leaders of the California Democratic Party as we defend our shared values.”

Afalqa, Atkins, Rendon and Gallardo-Rooker did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

The letters can be read below: