Anti-Semitism Remark made during School Board Meeting

Lillian Eschweiler

On Oct. 27, 2021, during the public comment section of the CUSD school board meeting. Someone made unsubstantial claims about the COVID-19 vaccination, and ended her statements with an anti-Semitic remark. 

A woman identified as Melanie Rettler, a veterinarian from Queen Creek, who had claimed to also to be an expert in cloning, had made claims regarding the “deep state,” “critical race theory” and other false statements regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, ending her comment by saying: “It’s being taken from your money and given to these pharmaceutical companies. And if you want to bring race into this, it’s the Jews.” That statement had earned several disheartening applause in the audience. After Rettlers comment, Board President Barb Mozdzen replied, “Your comments really need to be related to what the school board can do something about.”

Rettler’s statements are clearly not from a person of a critical mind, but she does reflect a bigger issue and that being the increase of anti- Semitism since last year, according to the ADL (Anti Defamation League):  “last year was still the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking such data in 1979.” 

As well as an article from the National Public Radio News stated:” Nearly one out of every four Jews in the U.S. has been the subject of antisemitism over the past year.”

This has been a persistent issue in this country for a long time, dating back to when the country first started and continued up until now, but why?

And especially antisemitic sentiments being expressed in this way; In Rettler’s statement, it reflects a person who is blaming the Jewish population for money being given to the pharmaceutical industry. 

Similarly, we can see similar blame sentiments expressed by politicians like Marjorie Taylor Green, who in 2018 made ridiculous Facebook posts that claimed “that a wealthy Jewish family used a supervillain satellite to start California’s devastating Camp Fire.”

Which very much is irrational, and yet it is still a belief that is held among a population of Americans. 

According to the French Philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti Semitism itself is fundamentally an irrational passion, in his famous essay “anti-Semite and Jew”, he recalls a story in which a classmate of his had failed the agrégation (a competitive exam for civil service), and had blamed the Jewish candidates for him not passing, even though this classmate had admitted that he had not even studied for the agrégation, this leads to one of Sartes prolific quotes, “far from experience producing his idea of the Jew, it was the latter which explained his experience. If the Jew did not exist, the anti-semite would invent him.”

 This is a complex issue that one person alone cannot solve, but to take steps towards progress we need to bring awareness to these issues, and not let them go unnoticed. Don’t be afraid to speak out against what you believe to be harmful, because the longer it goes unsaid, the longer it persists.