ADL calls on Calif. councilwoman to resign


(JTA) — A councilwoman in Santa Ana, Calif., should resign after she made a "half-hearted" apology to a Jewish businessman that she had compared to Hitler, the Anti-Defamation League said.

Claudia Alvarez, the council’s mayor pro tem, invoked Hitler last week during a debate on a tax for downtown property owners in comments directed at Irving Chase, the son of Holocaust survivors who owns several blocks of downtown property. 

"Hey, so if Hitler rents you a place, he’s giving us a great deal, so who cares what he stands for?" she said. 

Her statements reinforced an anti-Semitic sentiment that Jews are greedy, the Orange County chapter of the Anti-Defamation League charged and called on her to apologize.

"I do want to apologize to the Chase family for whatever reason they found my comments offensive. That was not my intent," Alvarez said in her Aug. 25 apology.

ADL regional director Kevin O’Grady in a statement said that "We asked Ms. Alvarez to make a much more sincere and personal apology to the Chase family, the Jewish community and to the Santa Ana community."

The statement also said that Alvarez’s "unwillingness to go beyond Thursday’s half-hearted apology highlights her lack of understanding about the tremendous impact of her comments. This dearth of sensitivity and judgment illustrates that Ms. Alvarez is ill-equipped to carry out her duties as a Santa Ana Councilmember. For these reasons, ADL calls on Claudia Alvarez to resign her seat on the Santa Ana City Council."

City Hall received dozens of phone calls and e-mails calling for her resignation, as well, according to reports.

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