Philadelphia official accused of making antisemitic comments resigns


(JTA) — A top official in Philadelphia’s city government resigned Sunday after making antisemitic remarks, including referring to the Holocaust movie “Schindler’s List” as “Jewish propaganda,” and creating a hostile environment for staff, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Michael Rashid had served as director of commerce for the city of Philadelphia since November 2020.

“Today I offered, and Mayor [Jim] Kenney accepted, my resignation as Director of Commerce. My continued service would serve as a distraction from the work of the Department, which is far too important to the City and region,” Rashid said in a statement. “I also have had the opportunity to speak with leaders of the Jewish community in Philadelphia and apologize for my previous comments which were inappropriate and insensitive. I look forward to future engagement with the community going forward.”

Several Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee and the local Jewish federation, had called on the mayor to fire Rashid after reports of his comments about “Schindler’s List” as well as his social media posts began to surface. In one Facebook post, Rashid quoted Malcolm X calling Jewish neighborhoods “Jew town,” according to the Philly Voice.

“Kenney, earlier this week, stood side by side with leaders of the Jewish community to condemn the rise of Antisemitism. If there is no room in our City for Antisemitism, as Mayor Kenney said, then Mr. Rashid should be removed from office immediately,” Michael Balaban, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, said in a statement, according to the Jewish Exponent.

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