Colorado Democrat congressional candidate Elisabeth Epps was accused of making a series of antisemitic tweets by the NGO Stop Antisemitism on Monday, adding controversy to a race that has created some division among Jewish Colorado citizens.
"Rebecca and Benjamin. Hmmm," wrote Epps in relation to then-President Barak Obama's State of the Union address in which he told the story of an American couple grappling with troubled economic conditions. "[Obama] starts out SOTU low-key reminding you that Israel is constituent number one."
Antisemitism alert (thread) - Elisabeth Epps (@elisabethepps), candidate for Colorado House District 6, is causing outrage in her district after her horrific tweets mirroring white supremacist rhetoric of Jewish power and control have come back to light. pic.twitter.com/EYFVyC8kYo— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) June 20, 2022
Sharing social media posts made by Epps several years ago, Stop Antisemitism said the comments mirrored "White supremacist rhetoric of Jewish power and control."
"I want to be a Jewish lawyer billionaire pro-sports team owner when I grow up," Epps wrote in another tweet.
"I always disavow false, racist and misogynistic attacks. I am focused on talking with Denver voters every day about the issues they face and how we can take on the issues that will improve their lives.”Colorado Democrat congressional candidate Elisabeth Epps
Jewish voters concerned
In an ad published in the Intermountain Jewish News advocating against Epps, prospective Jewish constituents said that she had stated "from the river to the sea," — referencing the maxim for the establishment of a Palestinian state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, replacing the state of Israel.
The "concerned Colorado citizens" also alleged that Epps characterized "Israeli policy as 'colonization, apartheid, genocide and nationalism.'"
Jewish support for Epps
Other Jewish voters have expressed support for the Democratic candidate. In a strong political statement, an online petition urging voters to side with Epps stated that “we condemn the weaponization of antisemitism to divide marginalized people and attack progressives.”
Epps, a longtime grassroots activist, is an abolitionist, bail reformist, and founder of the Colorado Freedom Fund. Her people-powered campaign focuses on advocacy for “our most vulnerable neighbors,” an idea highlighted in Jewish-led petition supporting Epps. “Our Jewish values teach us to love our neighbor,” read the petition.
Opposition democratic candidate Katie March has taken a different approach to her political campaign. Her focus on gun violence prevention and abortion rights, along with her ample experience in politics, has garnered extensive support from various state representatives and other politicians. In 2016, March joined then-Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran as her advisor and has since then taken on numerous roles in government.
March has not posted statements regarding the controversy, which was recently addressed by Epps in a statement on her website, in which she claims that “as a Black and queer woman I stand with all oppressed people, always have and always will.”
Included in her statement are other tweets from 2018 and 2019 which showcased her support for Jewish communities.
"Even tho [sic] we know we are on the right side of history, not much solace in that while our people are hurting," she said of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, adding that while she didn't know yet how to support the Jewish community, she would "find out. That is our work, not yours. We love you."
Epps’ newest controversy has not been the first in her political campaign. In a poll commissioned by One Main Street Colorado, a local nonprofit, questions on Epps incited criticisms on the legitimacy of racial bias on social media.
In response to the polemic, Epps tweeted "I always disavow false, racist and misogynistic attacks. I am focused on talking with Denver voters every day about the issues they face and how we can take on the issues that will improve their lives.”
"We are so much more than a single thing we say," Epps said. "We give people space to grow on things they need to grow on and double down on things they don’t."