WASHINGTON - Tensions boiled over at the Wilson Building Tuesday morning as a leader of the Jewish community interrupted a City Council breakfast and demanded that elected leaders take action against one of their own.
This comes days after a member of the Nation of Islam called a Jewish member of the council, Elissa Silverman a "fake Jew" at a rally.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld with Ohev Sholom, The National Synagogue in Northwest, D.C. was so upset over the lack of action by the council that he barged into a breakfast meeting Tuesday and told the leaders not only to denounce the hate, but also take action, including against a D.C. councilmember.
The video posted on Twitter from Washington Post reporter Fenit Nirappil captures the moment Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld took over the council breakfast. At times shouting directly at the chairman.
"You know what? When there are Jews called termites outside your office I’m going to stand and speak!"
Rabbi Herzfeld was not only angered by the comments last week but also believes the council should censure Councilmember Trayon White for his past comments and apparent donation to the Nation of Islam.
"Why are not all the council members not willing to censure Trayon and call for Mr. Lopez to resign?" said Rabbi Herzfeld
Moments after that meeting, the 13 council members gathered in the same spot where those anti-Semitic comments were made last week.
"We want to make it clear that the members of the council all of us stand together in condemning that kind of speech," said Chairman Phil Mendelson.
It has now also been announced that Councilmember Joshua Lopez is resigning from the D.C. Housing Board after he organized a unity rally where the anti-Semitic comments were made.
Councilmember David Grosso and Charles Allen called on Lopez to step down last week.
"I’m glad he’s stepping down I wish he would have done it a couple of days ago," said Councilmember Allen.
"I called for him to resign because I don’t think he should be representing the city," said Councilmember Allen,
We did ask Councilmember Trayon White about what took place at the breakfast.
"There’s no room for hate speech in D.C." he said.
But when we asked about the rally last week, "No comment on the rally."
Councilmember White was not at the rally and no part in organizing the rally.
In a tweet posted Tuesday evening, Councilmember Elissa Silverman said "Today was very hard. It is these conversations that lead to breakthroughs. I am proud of my colleagues for battling through to get to action. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We have more work to do to make DC a place of opportunity for all but we got a little closer today."
Today was very hard. It is these conversations that lead to breakthroughs. I am proud of my colleagues for battling through to get to action. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We have more work to do to make DC a place of opportunity for all but we got a little closer today. https://t.co/JUyEK94DQA— Elissa Silverman (@tweetelissa) May 1, 2018