The California Republican Party has distanced itself from a candidate running under its party banner over charges of anti-Semitism for the second time this year.
John Fitzgerald is the only Republican running in the heavily-Democratic 11th District, northeast of Oakland. His campaign website includes false claims that 9% of U.S. government officials are dual citizens of Israel and that Jews played a “prominent role” in the African slave trade, and celebrates a “courageous” elderly German woman who was sentenced to two years in prison for denying the Holocaust.
“Why is the holocaust the ONLY historical issue that cannot be questioned without fear of fines and/or imprisonment in eighteen countries–and counting– throughout the world?” Fitzgerald wrote on May 16.
The website also harshly criticizes Israel’s response to protests on the Gaza border.
The state party has taken a stand against the only Republican candidate in the race.
“Tonight, the California Republican Party’s Board of Directors took swift and decisive action to eliminate any support for John Fitzgerald due to anti-Semitic comments he made recently — those views have no home in the Republican Party,” California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte said in a statement two days later. “As always, California Republicans reject anti-Semitism, and all forms of religious bigotry, in the harshest terms possible. We reject John Fitzgerald’s campaign and encourage all voters to do the same.”
“We absolutely and unequivocally condemn John Fitzgerald and his campaign for Congress,” added Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks. “His anti-Semitic views have no place in our political system, and especially not in our Republican party. Fitzgerald clearly has no grasp of the facts when it comes to the Jewish people, Israel and our nation’s relationship with the only democracy in the Middle East, and history in general.”
Fitzgerald’s website does not seem to show a response to the state party’s statement, but it does include a rebuttal to similar accusations of anti-Semitism from former state party chair Ron Nehring.
“I am not an anti-Semite by any means, I am strictly an honest and ethical person who has the temerity to state fact: Israel has an absolute stranglehold over U.S. foreign-policy, and has for decades, at the expense and peril of our soldiers and America’s best interests,” Fitzgerald wrote.
Fitzgerald is only the latest Republican congressional candidate to have been condemned by their state party for anti-Semitism. The California GOP also condemned white supremacist Senate candidate Patrick Little and banned him from their state convention.
In Illinois, former American Nazi Party leader Arthur Jones won the Republican nomination for a House of Representatives race after no other candidates ran in a heavily-Democratic district. The state party later said it would back another candidate as a write-in.
And in Wisconsin, businessman Paul Nehlen, who was banned from Twitter for anti-Semitism and racism, is the most prominent Republican candidate to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward.