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California State Senator Censured for His Anti-semitic Remarks

February 1, 1982
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The Rules Committee of the State Senate approved a resolution “deploring” the anti-Semitic remarks of Sen. John Schmitz, an ultra-conservative Republican, and “disassociating” the upper chamber from them. Schmitz, who had denounced Jews, homosexuals and women for opposing a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions in California, charged at the committee hearing that the Jewish community was “terrorizing everybody.”

The 3-2 committee vote last Wednesday split along party lines. But the two Republican members who voted against the censure said they did not condone Schmitz’s behavior but thought he had already been punished enough.

The Rules Committee earlier stripped Schmitz of his chairmanship of the Constitutional Amendments Committee, removed him as vice chairman of the Industrial Relations Committee and as a member of the advisory commission of the Status of Women.

That action was taken after Schmitz, a former member of the John Birch Society, issued a press statement on the letterhead of the Amendments Committee in which he assailed supporters of abortion rights as “bulldykes,” “queers,” and “a sea of hard, Jewish and (arguably) female faces.”

Senate Majority Leader David Roberti, a Democrat and also a foe of abortion, said Schmitz’s remarks would have a “chilling effect” on witnesses who want to petition their government at legislative hearings.


Schmitz said that some of the women at the abortion hearing had identified themselves as Jewish. “They can come and identify themselves as Jewish women and when I do, suddenly that’s anti-Semitic,” he said. “Anti-Semitic is where they, the Anti-Defamation League (of B’nai B’rith) and those in league with them, what they define it as and they defined it as using the word Jewish in a non-adulatory manner.”

Schmitz added, “What you’ve got is political terrorism going on. You’ve got the Anti-Defamation League terrorizing the rest of the Jewish community and you’ve got the Jewish community terrorizing everybody else.”

Eliminated from the resolution before the vote was a paragraph deploring a remark by Schmitz on a television interview last November 4 that the country might need a “good military coup” to save it if President Reagan’s policies don’t work.

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