TRENTON – Burlington GOP Chairman Bill Layton today called for a top to bottom party mea culpa in the wake of reported anti-Semitic comments by Democratic Party leader and Evesham Township Board of Education Member Rosemary Bernardi.
Bernardi said her remarks during a May 23 board meeting were misconstrued, but that’s not good enough, said Layton, who wants public condemnations from Burlington County Democratic Chairman Joseph Andl and his countywide slate of Freeholder candidate Reva Foster, Sheriff candidate James Kostoplis and Clerk candidate Nancy Youngkin.
“I am sure they would like to bury their heads in the sand and pretend she didn’t say it, but silence is not a responsible option here. In 2011, our party stood together and spoke out against inflammatory remarks against State Senate candidate Carl Lewis,” said Layton. “More than two weeks since this controversy started, the failure of a single Democratic elected officeholder, candidate or party leader in our county to publicly condemn Rosemary Bernardi’s despicable comments about Jewish people demonstrates that they are either completely tone deaf or willing to tolerate that kind of bigotry in their own party. In either case, it’s wrong.”
News outlets reported that Bernardi made inappropriate comments about the number of Jewish School Board Members, students and parents in Evesham during the May 23 board meeting during a discussion centering on the start of school next year conflicting with the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
Evesham Mayor Randy Brown called for her resignation last week.
Bernardi is reported to have said: “It’s up to the parents to keep their kids home, all seven or eight Jews who live in our district,” and “Anyone who would like to run for the Board of Education, there are three seats up, and there are five Jews on the board.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Bernardi said her May 23 remarks were misconstrued and apologized.
But Board President Sandy Student said Tuesday the board had “received so much public reaction that members felt an investigation was warranted.”