San Diego Councilman Raul Campillo has called on “everyone who has a camera on their home or front door” in his 7th District to review their footage to see if it contains images of anyone distributing antisemitic fliers.
He said it might help “identify these hateful people and … help prevent the next hate incident and crime.”
In recent weeks, San Carlos, Del Cerro and Allied Gardens, neighborhoods within Campillo’s district, have been littered with antisemitic fliers by “unknown bigots,” said an “absolutely disgusted” Campillo.
“This is a threat to our peace as a community,” Campillo wrote in a newsletter sent by email to constituents, urging residents to contact police of his office “if you have any useful evidence.”
“We must work as a community to send the message that we stand with our Jewish community against this antisemitic filth and anyone who perpetrates hate incidents and hate crimes,” he said.
Campillo’s appeal came during a week when attention also was focused on turmoil within San Diego County’s unraveling Human Relations Commission.
Two elected officials and Khaliq Raufi, a former refugee from Afghanistan, resigned from the commission in the wake of an uproar caused after Raufi commented at a commission meeting that the Torah (which also is part of the Christian Bible) in Deuteronomy teaches Jews to “Go Kill Palestinians. Wipe them out.”
“So,” he added, “it’s a teaching that they, on a daily basis, teach their followers in their synagogues.”
Sara Brown, regional director of the American Jewish Committee, was in the audience, and exclaimed: “Are you serious right now?”
Supervisor Joel Anderson, who appointed Raufi, subsequently met with him, and thereafter Raufi’s resignation was announced.
Said Anderson: “Commissioner Raufi’s ignorant comments were hurtful and in no way reflect my personal views, but they do highlight the urgent need to focus on education, bridge building and to advocate for tolerance.”
The East County supervisor also called it “deeply offensive to quote the religious texts from others’ faiths to support any political or intolerant narrative.”
However, he added, Raufi’s comments apparently “came from a place of ignorance without malice.”
His comments had come while the commission was debating how to respond to statements made at a previous meeting by George Khoury, a commissioner of Palestinian heritage, who had called Israel a “racist, fascist state.”
In addition to Brown, Commissioner Kate Clark, who works for Jewish Family Service, and Nicole Murray Ramirez, a longtime leader in the LGBTQ+ community who militated for the creation of the commission, spoke up to disagree with Raufi.
Other commissioners as well as county staff listened silently, some saying that they could not hear what Raufi was saying.
There are no Jews on the commission; however, Fabienne Perlov, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, will take a seat in September, following her appointment by county Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer.
The ADL and the Jewish Federation of San Diego, in conjunction with other Jewish organizations, issued a statement Friday condemning Raufi’s remarks.
They said: “We continue to advocate for more balanced representation on the commission, more education and anti-bias training including on antisemitism, stricter adherence to parliamentary procedures, affirmation of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ Resolution on Antisemitism, and increased outreach to and engagement with the Jewish community.”
The group also included the American Jewish Committee, the San Diego Rabbinic Association, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Community Foundation, Hillel of San Diego and the Leichtag Foundation.
“As we continue this critical work to hold the commission to live up to its mission, your voice matters,” the group statement continued. “You can take action by contacting your county supervisor to ask them to publicly condemn the antisemitic statement and reinforce the requests above.”
The editorial board of The San Diego Union-Tribune commented, “San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria declared, ‘Hate has no place in San Diego and there will be consequences for those who spread it in our city.’ The county Human Relations Commission, which needs better vetting and training, must take that to heart. Otherwise, what’s the point of it?”
On Thursday, two elected officials who sit as ex officio members of the commission — District Attorney Summer Stephan and Sheriff Kelly Martinez — resigned.
Stephan, whose office prosecutes hate crimes, said she wished to avoid any conflict of interest.
Martinez said: “The direction of this commission has shed light on hostilities that are being displayed in a way that I do not find appropriate and therefore [I] find it best to remain neutral until the commission can mitigate their personal beliefs in a way that can allow space for acceptance of each other’s differences while elevating positive contributions to the community.”
Meanwhile, San Diego police still had not announced an arrest of a suspect who on Monday cussed out Israel and Jews and ripped the tzitzits off Orthodox Rabbi Aharon Shapiro at a 7-Eleven store in the College area.
The incident was filmed on the convenience store’s security cameras.
Donald H. Harrison is editor emeritus of San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association where a version of this report first appeared. He may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.