A row has erupted in Arizona following an antisemitic tirade at a school board meeting in a Phoenix suburb.
A speech during the public comment period of a meeting of Chandler District School Board addressed vaccines – a topic at the centre of heated public debate in the United States. The speaker, a woman who identified herself as Melanie Rettler, spoke for over a minute, referring to “the cabal, the swamp,” and “the elite.” After asserting that vaccines “aren’t safe” and “aren’t effective”, she claimed that people were “paying” for them through “the increase” in gas and food prices, with the money “being given to these pharmaceutical companies,” adding that Jews “owned all the pharmaceutical companies.” Concluding her diatribe, she then added: “…and if you want to bring race into this, it’s the Jews.”
The row, however, is as much about the failure of the officials to immediately challenge the woman as to the antisemitic outburst itself.
Board President Barbara Mozdzen merely said that comments needed “to be related to what the school board could do something about.”
However, The board’s interim Superintendent, Franklin Narducci, contacted representatives of the Jewish community after hearing of the speech and was praised by local Jewish leaders for “leading by example” in “speaking out against the hatred.”
In a statement Mr Narducci said that “Chandler Unified School District denounces hate speech at all levels” and reaffirmed its commitment “to use its influence…to teach students the value of an inclusive community.”
Image credit: Nicole Raz/Jewish News of Greater Phoenix