Skip To Content
Fast Forward

LA pols made vile racist and antisemitic remarks. Here’s how Jews responded.

“The Judios cut their deal,” an LA councilmember said on leaked audio

The most jarring slurs made by three Los Angeles City Council members caught on tape involve the Black son of one of their white colleagues. The child is referred to as a monkey, and his father is accused of using him as a political prop.

The council members also crudely derided other groups, using ethnic stereotypes for Oaxacans, Armenians and Jews.

Jewish groups and politicians who were part of the outraged chorus calling for their ouster mostly made broad condemnations, including denouncing antisemitism along with other forms of bigotry rather than focusing on it specifically.

“There is no place for racism or bigotry of any kind in Los Angeles city government,” Jeffrey Abrams, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director for Los Angeles, said on Twitter.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, for its part, tweeted: “We are appalled by the racist, antisemitic, and derisive remarks by members of our City Council.”

A slew of public officials, including President Joe Biden and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, have called for the three Council members to resign. Nury Martinez, who made the most blatant remarks surfaced so far about Jews, resigned Wednesday.

The tape, originally leaked on Reddit on Sunday, was then obtained by the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets. Martinez and Council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo can be heard discussing the city’s once-a-decade redistricting plan with Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who says at one point, “I’m sure Katz and his crew have an agenda.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Herrera was referring to former State Rep. Richard Katz, who had served on a committee examining possible new electoral maps.

“The Judios cut their deal with South LA. They are gonna screw everybody else.” replied Martinez. “Judios” is a Spanish term for Jews. Though the area is predominantly Latino, it has a high concentration of Los Angeles’ Black population.

Herrera resigned after the recording’s release.

Local candidates running in the municipal elections slated for Nov. 8 have rushed to condemn the remarks, including the two Jewish Democrats running in District 5, which has a large Jewish population.

One of them, Katy Young Yaroslavsky, said in a press release that it has been a “dark week” for Los Angeles. She renounced endorsements she had from two of the recorded Council members, called for their resignations and said they “don’t reflect my values.”

The recorded conversation brought to light the very worst from some of the most powerful people in our city,” she said.

Her opponent, Sam Yebri, also called for resignations, saying the future of Los Angeles cannot be built “on a foundation of hate.”

We cannot tolerate policymakers who harbor — and make decisions based on — racist and homophobic views,” he said in a campaign email. 


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.