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July 20, 2011

Jewish Dems Slam Rep. West for Hostile, Sexist Email Directed at Rep. Wasserman Schultz

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, NJDC News, Press Releases

The National Jewish Democratic Council today condemned Representative Allen West (R-FL) for his sexist and hostile email that attacked yet another of West’s Democratic House colleagues. From the text of the email, which is now public, West was apparently unhappy that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) alluded to his support for the congressional Republicans’ plan to increase the cost of Medicare for seniors during a speech on the House floor—a common talking point used by House Democrats during floor debate on Tuesday. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

“This latest tirade by Representative Allen West is beyond unacceptable. His email’s hostile tone and belligerent language further demonstrate that West cannot coexist peacefully and respectfully with his House colleagues. Worse, his declaration that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is ‘not a Lady’ and will not be ‘afforded due respect’ confirms yet again that West has a problem with progressive women. American Jews overwhelmingly support women’s rights and have nothing but tremendous respect for Debbie and all that she’s accomplished. West must apologize immediately for his email and, once and for all, contain his sexist hostility. Even more importantly, he should heed the words of Debbie and her House Democratic colleagues and finally stand up for the nation’s seniors—and not try to solve our economic woes on the backs of the neediest.”

West wrote in the message, which he copied to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):

Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior. [Politico, July 19, 2011]

West also took sexism to a new level by implying that only “ladies” are deserving of respect. West wrote:

You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me! [Politico, July 19, 2011]

This is just the latest tirade from West against one of his colleagues and it fits in his long line of inappropriate and inexcusable statements. West recently attacked progressive women for “neutering American men and bringing us to the point of ... incredible weakness.” [The New Times, April 25, 2011] [NJDC Statement, April 27, 2011]

West also attacked Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) and the religion of Islam. Rabbis Jack Moline, the Rabbinical Assembly’s Director of Public Policy, and David Saperstein, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Director and Counsel, joined a group of interfaith religious leaders in rebuking West for his “intemperate comments about Islam.” [Washington Jewish Week, February 2, 2011]

West’s blatant disrespect for women and his house colleagues confirms just how out of step he is with the vast majority of American Jews. With rising stars in the Republican Party such as this, there should be little doubt remaining as to why American Jews remain solidly Democratic. [Gallup, July 5, 2011]