Alleged Anti-Semitism in Council Race

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Alleged anti-Semitism has surfaced in the race among three black candidates and one Jewish candidate to replace retiring District 5 Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector.

In a Facebook post, minister and community organizer Kinji Scott accused Derrick Lennon of saying, “We can’t let this Jew boy get in,” referring to District 5 candidate Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer. He said the comment occurred during a conversation on the morning of Friday, Jan. 8, at a West Baltimore ceremony where a street sign was dedicated to father-of-three Kendal Fenwick, who was killed in November.

Scott said later in an interview, “I’m shocked, to be honest with you, that somebody would say what was said.”

Lennon denied the accusation and called it absurd.

Schleifer said he’s hoping the accusation isn’t true.

“I’d be very disappointed if it was true,” he said. “I think I have a good relationship with Derrick, and I would hope the voters wouldn’t vote for anybody based on race, gender or religion; that they vote based on who has done the most as a community activist for the community and the person who they feel is a leader who can represent everybody in the district.”

Spector, who was appointed to her seat in 1977 and is known as the “dean of the council,” announced that she will not be seeking reelection. She is one of six sitting council members not running in the primary. She said she will not be endorsing a candidate for her seat but plans to work with whoever wins.

If a campaign event on Sunday, Jan. 10, is any indication, Schleifer has the support of a sizable portion of the Jewish community. A Pikesville home was packed to the brim to hear New York Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder speak. The legislator spoke about the importance of local elections as well as local support.

“This is a candidate who needs the support, who is going to win and be successful, not just in the campaign,” he told the crowd.

Excerpted from Baltimore Jewish Times article. Full article can be found here.