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D.C. Councilman Counseled by Jewish Leaders After Claiming Prominent Jews Control Weather

Brothers David de Rothschild and Eric de Rothschild at the tribute Ceremony for Holocaust survivor and French politician Simone Veil at the Memorial de la Shoah of Paris on July 11. 2017. (Sipa via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — A D.C. city councilman was being counseled by local Jewish leaders after saying on his Facebook page that prominent Jewish banking family the Rothschilds are “controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities.”

After outcry over his remarks, Trayon White said he “did not intend to be anti-Semitic, and I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues.”

He told Washington City Paper he “must have heard it somewhere before, but I do know the initial conversation was about resilient cities… and it was a joke about the…’Oh, it’s snowing now,’ so it was a joke about that.”

White has met with Jewish leaders this week including Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Rabbi Batya Glazer of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Jews United for Justice tweeted, “We spoke with @trayonwhite tonight about how his comments played into the long history of antisemitism. We look forward to working with him toward deeper understanding of antisemitism and toward our collective liberation.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said Tuesday afternoon that she believes the Ward 8 councilman now “recognizes how hurtful and offensive his remarks were to the Jewish community and to all Washingtonians.”

“I appreciate the way that our city’s own Jewish leaders are working closely with him, rather than isolating him, to ensure an understanding of anti-Semitism and science-based climate change,” Norton said. “This response by our Jewish community exemplifies the long and close relationship between the Jewish and African-American communities in the District and in our country. Jewish Americans have always been African-Americans’ closest allies in the ongoing struggle against racism. Their own history here and in many countries throughout the world with bigotry and worse has led to a bond between Jews and Blacks like no other in our country.”

The delegate added that “all the residents of this great and diverse city—African-Americans, Jews, whites, Latinos, Muslims, Asian-Americans, Christians, the LGBT community, and others who make D.C. representative of the world—have long worked together to fight prejudice of all kinds and not only against what we ourselves encounter.”

Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh said in a statement that White attribution of weather changes to a prominent Jewish family “embrace irrational, anti-science conspiracy theories about an agency or group controlling the weather.”

“We cannot normalize such fringe theories and conspiracies or we risk permitting the radical — or worse, dangerous — to enter into the mainstream,” she said.