FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. _ An elected official from Hallandale Beach who accused a newly elected Muslim congresswoman of being an anti-Semite who might “blow up Capitol Hill” could face censure from her commission colleagues.
Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub has come under fierce attack in recent days for comments she made on Facebook after Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was sworn into office.
Muslim advocacy groups have been demanding an apology from Lima-Taub after the South Florida Sun Sentinel broke the story on Monday.
Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow, who like Lima-Taub is Jewish, said Wednesday she plans to seek a public reprimand of her colleague for promoting bigotry, fueling hatred and creating a hostile environment for the city’s Muslim community.
Lima-Taub posted remarks on Facebook on Tuesday saying she had no plans to apologize or resign.
She could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
“There is no religious litmus test to hold public office in the United States and any politician who would spout this kind of vile anti-Muslim rhetoric is clearly not fit to govern,” said Scott Simpson, a spokesman for the civil rights group Muslim Advocates.
Tlaib was sworn in to Congress on Jan. 3, only to hours later vow to help fellow Democrats go after President Donald Trump and “impeach the mother——.”
Five days later, Lima-Taub signed an online petition seeking to remove Tlaib from office and posted the petition on her personal Facebook page.
“Proudly signed,” Lima-Taub wrote. “A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and (I) would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”
Lazarow’s request for a public censure will come before the commission on Jan. 23.
“While individual commissioners have spoken out against Commissioner Lima-Taub’s hateful and bigoted remarks, I believe we need to take action as a city,” Lazarow said. “We must send a message to our community that this behavior won’t be tolerated.”
Lazarow is likely to have enough votes on the five-member commission to support a reprimand, which will not require a unanimous vote.
Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana and Commissioner Michael Butler have joined Lazarow in criticizing Lima-Taub for what some are calling an anti-Muslim rant.
Mayor Joy Adams has so far stayed mum.
Lazarow says she plans to withdraw her request for a reprimand should Lima-Taub “come to her senses” and issue a public apology.
“Instead of apologizing for her remarks, Commissioner Lima-Taub has doubled down, even going as far as demanding an apology from Congresswoman Tlaib,” Lazarow said. “I believe we must take action to show all who are watching that Hallandale Beach isn’t a place that tolerates hatred and bigotry.”
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) accused Lima-Taub of promoting xenophobic stereotypes.
“CAIR-Florida strongly condemns the disgraceful racist and Islamophobic statements published by Commissioner Annabelle Lima-Taub,” director Wilfredo Ruiz said. “Her un-American, xenophobic statements establish that she is unfit to hold the commissioner’s seat. She must apologize immediately and follow up with her resignation.”
Earlier story from the Sun Sentinel is found below.
HALLANDALE BEACH — A Jewish commissioner from Hallandale Beach has accused a Muslim congresswoman from Michigan of being an anti-Semite who might “blow up Capitol Hill.”
Her comments were directed at U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who sparked a political firestorm soon after being sworn in to Congress on Jan. 3 by vowing to help fellow Democrats go after President Donald Trump and “impeach the motherf*****.”
Five days later, Hallandale Commissioner Annabelle Lima-Taub signed an online petition seeking to remove Tlaib from office and posted the petition on her personal Facebook page.
“Proudly signed,” Lima-Taub wrote. “A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and [I] would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, made history as one of the first two Muslim women to ever serve in Congress.
Lima-Taub could not be reached for comment Monday despite two calls to her cell phone. Tlaib could not be reached for comment despite a message left with her Washington office.
It was unclear Monday whether the comment was reported to federal authorities.
The Facebook post was removed sometime Monday afternoon after the South Florida Sun Sentinel began making inquiries.
Three Hallandale Beach commissioners blasted their colleague for her lack of discretion — but stopped short of saying they would demand an apology.
Commissioners Michele Lazarow and Mike Butler accused Lima-Taub of promoting a racist stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists.
“Commissioner Lima-Taub’s behavior is indefensible and a black eye for Hallandale Beach,” Lazarow said.
Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana said she was stunned by what she called Lima-Taub’s “outrageous” accusation.
“To say [the Congresswoman] could blow up Capitol Hill is really inappropriate,” Javellana said. “Congressman Steve King from Iowa has openly embraced white supremacy and I don’t see anyone condemning him. Maybe she’s being targeted because she’s a woman and because she’s a Muslim.”
Muslim advocacy groups condemned Lima-Taub’s remarks and demanded a public apology.
“That level of racism and bigotry has no place in Florida’s politics,” said Vetnah Monessar, state director for Emgage, a nonprofit focused on civic engagement among Muslim Americans. “Muslims are part of the fabric of this country. We demand that Commissioner Taub apologize to her constituents and the general public.”
Rasha Mubarak, president of the Young Democrats of Orange County, also urged Lima-Taub to apologize for her “outlandish” remarks.
“I find her comments repulsive and jarring, considering she’s an elected official,” Mubarak said from Orlando. “This language is dangerous, violent and unproductive. There is no room for hate in Florida politics.”
Like Tlaib, Lima-Taub herself has been at the center of a media storm.
In September, then-Mayor Keith London accused her of making a living off sphincter bleaching, a reference to her mother’s med spa.
Infuriated, Lima-Taub accused him of making sexually inappropriate comments and demanded an apology.
London eventually apologized, but not before the story went viral.
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