Recording the snowfall in Washington, D.C. on Facebook's video feature, D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. peddled the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews secretly control the weather. The Washington Post published our letter to the editor expressing our deep concern about White's engagement with anti-Semitic tropes. We sincerely hope that, as stated in his apology, White will proceed to learn about Jews and Jewish history and become an ally in the future.
Regarding the March 20 Metro article “Lawmaker apologizes for remark about Jews”:
D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) is treading in the dangerous land of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories with his Facebook video commentary that a snowfall in the District was caused by “the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities.” Though Mr. White apologized, this episode shows that anti-Semitic tropes lurk so close to the surface. Conspiracy-mongers have glommed on to an 18th-century Jewish banker and his family as the root of so many of society’s ills.
We hope Mr. White will learn the history of the Jewish people and become an ally. Perhaps this will be a teachable moment for all, that we must all expand our base of knowledge and reach out to other communities, to learn from them and about them and to find common ground in fighting intolerance and prejudice.
A divisive society cannot be a successful or civil one.
Daniel S. Mariaschin, Washington
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B'nai B'rith International is the Global Voice of the Jewish Community.
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