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ELECTION WATCH 2016

California’s Erin Schrode targeted with antisemitic abuse

(JTA) — As the Ledger went to press on Tuesday, voters in California were just waking up and preparing to head for the polls in the state’s Democratic and Republican primaries. Among those on the ballot: Erin Schrode who, if she prevailed, could become the youngest person in the U.S. House of Representatives — and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

To be sure, the 25-year-old Northern California native is (or was) the clear underdog in her primary race against incumbent Jared Huffman in the 2nd District, which stretches from the Oregon border to the Golden Gate Bridge: Huffman has raised some $620,000 to Schrode’s $2,250.

Still, it’s hard not to admire the young Jewish woman who has long been on the fast track to success. At 13, she founded Turning Green, a national nonprofit that promotes environmental education and advocacy. In 2010, following the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, she launched The Schoolbag, which provides school supplies to needy students around the world. Such inspired entrepreneurship has earned her kudos from the Jewish community, including a spot on the Forward’s list of most inspiring Jewish teens and a $36,000 prize from the Helen Diller Family Foundation’s Teen Tikkun Olam program.

But win or lose, Schrode’s entry into politics is marred by a spate of antisemitic abuse with which she has been hit in the closing days of her campaign.

Not one to sit silently by, Schrode revealed in a Facebook post late Saturday night, June 4, the abuse that has been directed at her via social media and cellphone messages.

Among the messages she has received, Schrode said, are “Everyone knows it’s TIME for America’s first evil retarded teen c— Congress kike!”; “Fire up the oven!” and “All would laugh with glee as they gang raped her and then bashed her bagel eating brains in.”

She called the messages “Indiscriminate hatred. Pure evil.” On Sunday, Schrode told Buzzfeed that the FBI was contacted by several people on her behalf. Schrode said she was not filing a police report because local police confirmed that the FBI handles such threats. She also said she spoke to two police officers and that the police will do extra patrols in the area.

Writing on Facebook, Schrode said, “I cannot and will not remain silent. I have never been much good at standing idly by in the face of injustice. I am not writing these words to spark an outpouring of sympathy, but rather to call attention to the fact that pointed, blatant hatred is rampant and on the uptick at this moment in history, particularly in the context of a fear-based election cycle. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I have spoken out time and time again when I have NOT been the one targeted. I am a citizen activist through and through – who refuses to give that shrug of inevitability.”

She added: “We must not stand silent in the face of hatred, violence, attacks, bullying, or oppression; we cannot recoil in fear; we cannot lose our sense of human dignity and respect. May we respond with a chorus of positive voices and powerful action. May we rise up and not only preach tolerance, but understanding and love.”

 

PAC marks Mississippi murders anniversary with actions targeting Trump

(JTA) — A liberal Jewish political action committee is marking the anniversary of the murders of three civil rights workers with a call to action against Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Vigils will be held in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, Texas on June 21, the 52nd anniversary of the 1964 murders in Mississippi of Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney, Bend the Arc-Jewish Action announced on Monday. People wishing to participate may order yahrzeit candles, and signs saying “Jews Against Trump” and “#WeveSeenThisBefore” from the PAC’s website, and will be encouraged to post selfies online and to organize vigils in their hometowns.

“We are doing this both as commemoration and in memory of the values that they held and the legacy that they had fighting for democracy and fighting for a country that was free of political danger,” Stosh Cotler, the CEO of the PAC’s affiliated advocacy non-profit, Bend the Arc, told JTA.

Ku Klux Klan members murdered Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman, who were campaigning for black voting rights in the south. Schwerner and Goodman were Jewish and Chaney was African American. The three have become a symbol of black-Jewish cooperation.

“It is an opportunity for us as the Jewish community to come out and demonstrate our horror at a possible Trump candidacy and to say we’re going to fight for the democracy that we so deeply believe in,” Cotler said.

A number of Jewish groups have, with varying degrees of outspokenness, condemned aspects of Trump’s policies and rhetoric, particularly his broadsides against Muslims, Hispanics and women.

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