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by BENJAMIN FEARNOW
Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 at 1:40 PM
Maria Estrada, a California Democratic candidate for the 63rd District in the state assembly has defended her controversial positions on Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, prompting some calls for her to drop out of the race.
Democratic Party candidate Maria Estrada is looking to replace incumbent State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for the District 63 seat in November. But social media posts about Israel’s role in “genocide” against Palestinians in the Middle East have prompted several local Jewish community leaders to criticize her candidacy. Estrada issued a statement to the Forward clarifying that she is “anti-Zionism, not anti semitic.”
Estrada finished second behind Rendon in the June 5 primary election where she received 28 percent of the vote, edging out Republican Adam J. Miller. Estrada and Rendon will face off for his seat in the upcoming general election. But several critics of her candidacy have emerged, including an op-ed in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal by Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman titled “Farrakhan’s Bigotry Finds Traction Across the Political Spectrum.” The two noted a 2017 Facebook post from Estrada in which she claimed, ““Democrats turn a blind eye to the genocide against Palestinians and justify it by bringing up the Holocaust.”
The post continues on with a comparison between how Palestinians and Israelis are treated by American politicians. She also ridiculed Israeli leaders for trying to “justify” what she sees as grandiose claims of being “God’s Chosen People.”
The op-ed continued, "Like Farrakhan and other anti-Semites before him, Estrada has taken a page from Farrakhan’s anti-Jewish playbook and invoked ‘God’s Chosen People’ to justify her vilification of Jews, not just Zionists. She apparently took no notice that Farrakhan’s hateful dog whistle also transcends the racial chasm between Black Nationalists and White racist anti-Semites who marched in Charlottesville this past August.”
They also note that alt-right white supremacist leader Richard Spencer met with Farrakhan in 2017.
Estrada is a frequent proponent of the “Free Palestine” movement and previously tweeted, “I, for one, enjoy listening to Farrakhan’s sermons.” The Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party issued a July 6 statement on its website criticizing Estrada’s “public support of notorious homophobe and antisemite Louis Farrakhan and her repeated and extreme antisemitism in the guise of ‘criticism of Israel.’” A May 10, 2017, Facebook post from Estrada was cited by the group in which she shared a cartoon that replaced the Star of David with a Nazi swastika.
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by Yair rosenberg
Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 at 4:22 PM
It’s been a good election cycle for anti-anti-Semites. From Illinois’ Arthur Jones to Wisconsin’s Paul Nehlen, the rise of neo-Nazis on the fringes of Republican politics has been ably chronicled by reporters like Jane Coaston at Vox and watchdog groups like the Anti-Defamation League. This week, however, another anti-Semite emerged in a prominent political race, this time across the aisle.
Maria Estrada is running as a progressive challenger to California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in the state’s 63rd district. Endorsed by multiple local chapters of the Bernie Sanders-founded Our Revolution, she came in second in the June primary with 28% of the vote, assuring her a showdown with Rendon in the general. There’s just one small problem: Estrada is also an anti-Semite, and not a particularly subtle one.
On social media, she has declared that, “I, for one, enjoy listening to Farrakhan’s sermons.” Louis Farrakhan, for those in need of a refresher, is the anti-Semitic and homophobic cult leader who has blamed Jews for everything from 9/11 to the slave trade. (In fact, while this article was being written, Estrada exhorted her Twitter followers to “listen to Louis Farrakhan.”) This past May, Estrada also attacked Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, telling him to “try keeping your party, your religion and your people in check.” (Bauman is an openly gay Orthodox Jew.) She repeatedly accused Israel of committing Palestinian “genocide,” a blood libel on a national scale given that the Palestinian Bureau of Central Statistics records a four-fold increase in the Palestinian population since Israel’s founding.
Estrada’s particular brand of anti-Jewish invective highlights a challenge for progressives on anti-Semitism. To their credit, leftists find it easy to recognize and call out anti-Jewish bigotry when it appears on the right as undisguised Nazism, which is more than can be said of the president. But many progressives have trouble identifying and expunging such hate when it comes from one of their own and masquerades as “criticism of Israel.”
Indeed, when confronted with her history of anti-Semitic statements, Estrada knew exactly what to say. “To be clear, I am anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitic,” she told The Forward. Estrada did not explain how attacking California Jewish political figures over their religion or promoting Farrakhan were “anti-Zionist” positions. But she knew that by simply throwing Israel into the conversation and bashing it, she might be able to cash a “Get Out of Anti-Semitism Free” card among her compatriots. Similarly, after Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory was exposed as a longtime promoter of Farrakhan and refused to repudiate him, she belatedly booked herself a trip to Israel and the West Bank with an anti-Israel group, in an effort to gloss over her promotion of an anti-Jewish preacher with some newfound anti-Zionism.
These efforts to disguise anti-Semitism as legitimate political discourse should not surprise. Anti-Jewish bigotry has always followed the path of least resistance in any community, dressing itself up in whatever guise that community considers respectable. As David Schraub, a senior research fellow at University of California, Berkeley’s law school, has written, “Anti-Semitism will always be expressed in the dominant language of the place and the time, and it is entirely predictable that people will seek to express anti-Semitism in ways that enhance rather than detract from their social standing.” Thus, in a deeply religious society like medieval Europe, anti-Semitism would be justified through theology, whereas in societies that esteemed science like Nazi Germany, anti-Semitism took on the imprimatur of “race science.” In both instances, the problem was not “religion” or “science,” but how these legitimate endeavors were appropriated and perverted by bigots to serve anti-Jewish ends.
Something similar, writes Schraub, is happening in progressive spaces today: The entirely legitimate enterprise of criticizing Israel is being used by anti-Semites to launder their hate. “Precisely because there are perfectly valid critiques of Israel that are, on their face, wholly laudable from within a progressive paradigm, a speaker harboring antipathy towards Jews and looking for a socially acceptable vector to express them will gravitate toward that issue.” In this manner, anti-Semitism is repackaged as “Israel criticism” in left-wing spaces.
Combating this dangerous dynamic is a challenge that progressives and the Democratic Party must meet. If both groups intend to be credible voices on anti-Semitism and on Israel, they’re going to need to learn to spot bad actors like Estrada who use Israel as an excuse for their unreconstructed Jew hatred. Identifying and casting out these bigots will not only marginalize the bigotry, but it will also open up a constructive space for criticizing Israel that isn’t tainted by anti-Semitism.
Needless to say, Donald “Very Fine People” Trump and the Republican Party have not exactly passed this test with flying colors, and have repeatedly failed to ostracize bigots in their midst. Whether the chapters of Our Revolution that endorsed Estrada will do better remains to be seen.
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by Quotes courtesy of the SPLC
Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 at 7:53 PM
“The Jewish media has normalized sexual degeneracy, profanity, and all kinds of sin.”
Louis Farrakhan The Time and What Must Be Done, Part 20: Making Satan Known, May 25 2013
"The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters … the Jews got a stranglehold on the Congress."
Louis Farrakhan, Saviour's Day speech, Chicago, Feb. 25, 1990
"The powerful Jews are my enemy."
Louis Farrakhan Chicago, February 2018
"White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through"
Louis Farrakhan Chicago, February 2018
"And you do with me as is written, but remember that I have warned you that Allah will punish you. You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell. But I warn you in the name of Allah, you would be wise to leave me alone. But if you choose to crucify me, know that Allah will crucify you."
Louis Farrakhan, Saviour's Day speech, Chicago, Feb. 25, 1996
"Jews know their wickedness, not just Zionism, which is an outgrowth of Jewish transgression." Louis Farrakhan, Washington D.C. July 1985
"[T]he Jews don't like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man. He wasn't a great man for me as a black person, but he was a great German. Now, I'm not proud of Hitler's evils against Jewish people, but that's a matter of record. He raised Germany up from nothing. Well, in a sense you could say there's a similarity in that we are raising our people up from nothing."
— Louis Farrakhan, radio interview, March 11, 1984
"These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. … It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It's the wicked Jews, false Jews, that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!"
— Louis Farrakhan, Saviours' Day speech, Feb. 26, 2006
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Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 at 8:16 PM
Hard to imagine that Maria Estrada enjoys listening to Louis Farrakhan's homophobic rantings. Shes no kind of progressive, in my book.
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by From Progressive Zionists of the California
Friday, Jul. 13, 2018 at 7:47 AM
Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party is concerned about candidate for Assembly Member in District 63 Maria Estrada’s public support of notorious homophobe and antisemite Louis Farrakhan and her repeated and extreme antisemitism in the guise of “criticism of Israel".
Candidate Estrada made repeated antisemitic remarks about the Jewish state in a series of Facebook comments.
On May 10, 2017 she posted a cartoon replacing the Magen David on the Israeli flag with the swastika of the Nazis, but the next day she apologized for her post. However, on October 6, 2017 she claimed non-Jews could not be Zionists without being influenced by Jewish friends or loved ones. In this same exchange--shortly after a detailed posting of many of Farrakhan's hateful statements about Jews--she commented that she “enjoys listening to Farrakhan’s sermons”, as well as claiming Democrats turn a blind eye to Palestinians, and “justify it by bringing up the Holocaust. As if what happened 70 years ago justifies what is happening now.”
On May 14, 2018 “calling out” Eric Bauman, Chair of the California Democratic Party, she admonished him for not keeping “your party, your religion and your people in check.”
Comparing Zionism - the movement for Jewish liberation and self-determination - to ideologies that support oppression and genocide against Jews is grotesquely racist. This rhetoric is an attempt to silence Jewish voices, including countless Sephardic (Jews of the Spanish and Moorish diaspora); and Mizrahi (Jews of Middle Eastern and African diaspora), who were forced from their homes after 1947; the many Beta Israel or Ethiopian Jews; and the Ashkenazi, Jews of the European diaspora and beyond.
Additionally, it is antisemitic to claim Jews spend too much time talking about the Holocaust, or compare the situation in Palestine to what the Nazis did to Jews. This comparison holds no real comparable value and is intended only to hurt Jews, especially those who lost the majority of their families to Nazis. Nazis intended to ensure there were no Jews left anywhere on the planet. We can and should be in dialogue about how Israel handles Palestinian concerns, but it is a deliberate and malicious contrivance to attempt to somehow hold these two as equal.
Moreover, Estrada saying that she “enjoy[s] listening to Farrakhan’s sermons”, a known and noxious public figure, is a slap in the face to the LGBTQ community and women as well as Jews. Farrakhan’s sermons are littered with homophobia and misogyny. The SPLC and the ADL label him as a hate figure. A truly progressive leader would spurn him from their spaces to make it as safe and inclusive for all identities.
We encourage people to voice their opinions and believe freedom of speech is one of our nation’s most important values. We also believe it is possible and important to criticize Israel like any other country. Too often, as in this case, criticism crosses the line and must be addressed. Jews remain the most highly targeted minority group for religiously motivated hate crimes, and are increasingly threatened by antisemitism from the political left as well as the right. Comments expressing support for a hateful figure in American politics as well as those expressing antisemitic sentiments are not appropriate for anyone, let alone a person seeking to serve their community in elected office.
While we are not endorsing any candidate in this race, we must conclude that Maria Estrada’s repeated expressions of antisemitism disqualifies her from seeking public office. We call on Maria Estrada to resign from this race, apologize for her blatant antisemitism, and take the necessary time to consider her harmful and hateful words.
We call on Democrats across California to reject Estrada’s hateful and divisive rhetoric, to spread this message, and to pressure her to resign her campaign for Assembly Member in District 63.
For more information, please reach out to Matthew Finklestein at ProgressiveZionistsoftheCDP@gmail.com.
Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party
(PZCDP) is an alliance of California Democrats that stands for the fundamental right to self-determination of the Jewish people in their indigenous homeland. PZCDP looks forward to working with all Democrats to foster a more nuanced and accurate understanding of Zionism. Together we can help stem the rising tide of global antisemitism, along with all forms of bigotry and hatred.
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by Watch out Assembly District 63
Friday, Jul. 13, 2018 at 4:19 PM
Maria Estrada, who is running for the California state assembly in the 63rd District, has been under fire from Jewish organizations for her praise of anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan and other Anti-Zionist comments. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has unearthed some other anti-Zionist comments from Estrada, including one that says “Zionists are the f*cking worst.”
In a July 13 blog post, the ADL compiled the following statements from Estrada from her Facebook account:
· Saying “Zionists are the f*cking worst” after calling on Jews to condemn Zionist “terrorism” against Palestinians in May.
· “Anyone who believes they [Israelis] are one of ‘God’s chosen people’ automatically feels superior and justified and all they do [sic]. Religious fanaticism is used to justify apartheid and crimes against Palestinians and no one should be ok with it.”
· “Zionists in America should have to immediately give up their land to whatever tribe it originally belonged to.”
“It’s impossible to ignore the undercurrent of anti-Semitism running through a number of Estrada’s comments about Zionism and Israel,” the ADL wrote. “Although criticism of Israel is entirely legitimate and is not inherently anti-Semitic, Estrada consistently ignores the difference between Israelis and Jews, and has argued that Israeli policies and Zionism more generally are inspired by a sense of Jewish supremacism and disregard for others.”
The ADL later added in their post, “Estrada’s repeated insinuations that support for Israel is a form of religious chauvinism is offensive and demeaning to the large number of American Jews for whom some form of Zionism is part of their cultural identity.”
The ADL also chided Estrada for her praise for Farrakhan, as they said that her claim that Farrakhan has plenty of valid points to make outside of his anti-Semitic comments “rings hollow” because of his frequent anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Estrada’s comments have begun to receive national attention, with her comments being highlighted by the likes of CNN’s Jake Tapper and ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
“Maria Estrada’s language about Israel and Jews is deeply disturbing,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “Her lauding of Louis Farrakhan is dangerous. We cannot afford such ugliness to be elevated, let alone ignored – anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny and other forms of intolerance affect all of us. We do not tolerate such prejudice and we call it out in the strongest possible terms.”
Similarly, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and consultant Dr. Harold Brackman denounced Estrada in a Journal op-ed.
“Like Farrakhan and other anti-Semites before him, Estrada has taken a page from Farrakhan’s anti-Jewish playbook and invoked ‘God’s Chosen People’ to justify her vilification of Jews, not just Zionists,” Cooper and Brackman said. “She apparently took no notice that Farrakhan’s hateful dog whistle also transcends the racial chasm between Black Nationalists and White racist anti-Semites who marched in Charlottesville this past August. Alt-right Charlottesville guru Richard Spencer wants to meet with Farrakhan, to work together toward ‘the sort of self-determination we and the broader Alt-Right support.”
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