LA council member recorded making racist comments and degrading Jews

In a conversation with two other council members, Nury Martinez made racist and antisemitic comments and is now resigning from the LA city council.

LAPD Officers wear face masks as they patrol Hollywood Blvd during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 18, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS)
LAPD Officers wear face masks as they patrol Hollywood Blvd during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 18, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The woman who resigned Sunday as president of Los Angeles’ city council after an audio clip leaked revealing racist comments she made about Black and Indigenous people also spoke derisively about Jews in the same recording, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Nury Martinez made the comments about a year ago in a conversation with two other council members, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, and a local labor leader. Their revelation over the weekend caused Martinez to step down as president, but she remains on the council. Protestors interrupted Tuesday’s council meeting to demand the resignations of all three council members, a call that U.S. President Joe Biden has joined as he heads to Los Angeles for a four-day tour.

On the recording, Ron Herrera, who has resigned as president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, can be heard speaking about former state Assemblymember Richard Katz, who is Jewish and was at the time serving on a city commission charged with redrawing council district boundaries. Katz was appointed to the role by City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who is also Jewish. 

“I’m sure Katz and his crew have an agenda,” Herrera said. 

Martinez responded by saying, “Judíos cut their deal with South L.A. They are gonna screw everybody else.” Judíos means Jews in Spanish, and South L.A. is where much of the city’s Black population is concentrated.

Downtown Los Angeles.  (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Downtown Los Angeles. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The scandal engulfed LA politics

The scandal engulfing Los Angeles politics broke out on Sunday and escalated while Jewish institutions were closed and some Jews were abstaining from using electronics in observance of the Sukkot holiday on Monday and Tuesday. Despite the unusual interjection of the US president, it is being overshadowed by a different set of bigoted comments, by rapper Kanye West, who also suggested that he believes Jews possess outsized control and are animated by greed.

In the same audio recording, Martinez can also be heard talking about people of Armenian descent using a stereotype.