Rev. Eric Lee says the whole episode in which philanthropist (and Hillary Clinton supporter) Daphna Ziman accused him of anti-Semitic remarks has been wearing and hurtful. Lee, who is African American, tells the Jewish Journal:
"This has really taken its toll on me. I've taken the brunt, and it seems there is no question about whether Ms. Ziman inaccurately heard, and I was misinterpreted. It has just been really rough to me and my family," said Lee, president and CEO of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), in a phone interview while on a trip to Sacramento.
What Ziman says she heard in a keynote speech made by Lee, just after she was honored April 4 by a historically black fraternity for her work with foster children, was a rant that echoed one of the key strategies outlined in that century-old fabrication, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
"The Jews have made money on us in the music business, and we are the entertainers, and they are economically enslaving us," Ziman's e-mail quotes Lee saying.
Lee emphatically denies saying this or harboring such views. And after The Journal reported online April 9 that Ziman's e-mail was spreading through the community like wildfire, Lee sent an apology to Ziman for "any misunderstandings" and "unequivocally" denounced anti-Semitism.
The blaze, however, continued. At press time Tuesday, it loomed over a black-Jewish seder organized by the American Jewish Committee (AJCommittee) and the SCLC, among others, scheduled for April 17 at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and it has forced leaders in both communities to acknowledge that more bond-building needs to occur.
Ziman's email rant also went on to lump in Barack Obama. No one yet seems to agree on what was said that night, but former Rep. Mel Levine, an Obama supporter, tells the JJ that "Daphna has a tendency to be over dramatic." Editor Rob Eshman has a commentary on the episode, which broke in his paper.
Add anti-Semitism: Developer Sev Ashkenazy, publisher of the San Fernando Sun, settled a lawsuit against the city of San Fernando over being denied a liquor license after a city councilman either or did not say "He's being greedy. He's Jewish, you know." The councilman denies saying it, and says Ashkenazy is making a political move on the city council.