A candidate for a post on San Francisco’s city legislature has to apologized for mocking the family name of a Jewish journalist with the word “Nazi.”
Leanna Louie — a candidate for District 4 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — tweeted an apology on Tuesday night for a post on Facebook in which she referred to Joe Eskenazi, the managing editor of local news site Mission Local, as “EskeNAZI.”
In the offending post, Louie contrasted her experience of being interviewed by radio station KQED with her previous tussles with Eskenazi. “It was so nice to talk to a journalist who actually had a dialogue with me,” she wrote. “Unlike Joe EskenNAZI who calld me and talked over me and didn’t even write any of my responses.”
Louie went on to claim that Eskenazi had then called members of the Weather Underground — the now defunct radical militant group formed in 1969 — “to validate his points.”
Louie’s post, since deleted, triggered a chorus of condemnation from San Francisco politicians and commentators, many of whom called for her to withdraw from the election race.
“How toxic are San Francisco politics?” San Francisco Examiner reporter Gil Duran asked on Twitter. “Time to end the campaign, Leanna.”
Louie has previously attracted criticism for her social media statements, which have included attacks on the liberal billionaire George Soros, whose name is often invoked by antisemites as a symbol of supposed Jewish financial power. Aaron Peskin, supervisor for District 3, called Louie’s comments “the musings of a crazy person who is not fit to take public office.”
Peskin told Mission Local that he had “never seen this kind of racist, antisemitic behavior from anybody in, or running for, public office in San Francisco, in the quarter of a century I have been involved in local politics.”
Incumbent District 4 supervisor Gordon Mar said that Louie’s “shocking antisemitic and hateful comments are absolutely unacceptable. She should immediately apologize to Joe Eskenazi and to the elections experts for her absurd and inflammatory remarks.”
District Attorney candidate John Hamasaki tweeted that “hate has no place in San Francisco. No matter whether it is antisemitic, anti-Black, or anti-Asian, it is tearing our city apart.”
California State Sen. Scott Weiner (D) remarked that it was “deeply harmful to use the word ‘Nazi’ to refer to anyone who isn’t an actual Nazi, particularly when directed at a Jew. The actual Nazis killed 6 million Jews & millions others. Their lives are devalued by this kind of rhetoric.”
In her apology, Louie said she was merely expressing “frustration with Joe’s barrage of news articles in a highly insensitive, inappropriate and uncharacteristic manner.”
She added that the “formatting of his surname was in poor taste and I want to sincerely apologize to Joe Eskenazi, his family, and the Jewish community.”
Eskenazi called on Louie to apologize not only to himself, but to the election officials he alleged she had slandered.
“I am used to stuff like this, ever since grade school, when they teach non-Jews what the Holocaust is,” Eskenazi added.