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abuayisha View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 July 2012 at 8:20am

Local politician's emails spark firestorm


Evelyn Garcia, a Palm Beach County representative to the Democratic National Committee and a candidate for state representative, came under heavy criticism for remarks she made in a series of emails that have been viewed by some as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

The emails which were sent more than a year ago recently surfaced and sparked a firestorm among Jewish Democrats and Republicans alike.

In the private emails Garcia accused Israel of "crimes against humanity" and of running "mass concentration prison camps."

In one provocative email Garcia wrote, "The continued Israeli occupation of Palestine is ugly on moral, ethical, religious and legal grounds. Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust and it is time that this guilt trip was taken off their backs."

Garcia also said, "I deeply resent U.S. taxpayer funds being used to continue Israeli aggression, not to mention incursions that kill people, destroy civilian homes and infrastructure all over."

Mark Alan Siegel, Democratic Party county chairman called the emails "grossly inappropriate." County Commissioner Burt Aaronson said, "I am personally offended as a Jew, as a Democrat and as a supporter of the state of Israel. The Democratic Party is better off without her."

ADL Florida Regional Director Andrew Rosenkranz said, "Evelyn Garcia and others are entitled to express legitimate criticism of Israel. However, it appears that Garcia engaged in lobbing anti-Israel falsehoods to forward her agenda."

Joseph M. Sabag, executive director of the Florida region of Zionist Organization of America said, "Evelyn Garcia's anti-Semitic opinions about Israel are toxic and have no place in any political party.

"It's appropriate for Jewish communal organizations to speak out given Garcia's political status and how hurtful the comments were in this instance," he said.

In the wake of the controversy over the emails, Garcia resigned her post on the DNC and issued a statement apologizing for her remarks, calling them "ugly" and "hurtful."

"In passionately advocating my position supporting the rights of people I felt were being harmed, I used language that I now regret," Garcia said. "The gist of the conversation had to do with my concern for innocent people being oppressed, but such support for the oppressed does not diminish my support for the good people of Israel."

In an interview with the Jewish Journal, Garcia said she was "hurt" by the reaction to the emails.

"I've never been an anti-Semite, and I have a long history of being pro-Jewish" she said. "I realize a lot of the language was inappropriate, and I admit I used language that was quite inflammatory. I apologize, and I regret that very much."



Edited by abuayisha - 22 July 2012 at 8:22am
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