More damage control: Siegel spurns resignation call, will take indefinite leave for anti-Christian rantby George Bennett | September 6th, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel has rejected a call from Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith to resign over Siegel’s statement that fundamentalist Christians want to see Jews “slaughtered.”
Siegel instead will take an “indefinite leave of absence,” Smith said after huddling with Siegel and Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon and state Rep. Lori Berman for about an hour this morning at the Florida delegation hotel.
“Today I asked for Mark Alan Siegel’s resignation. He has declined. He is embarrassed and humiliated by his inappropriate comments and has requested an indefinite leave of absence, which I have granted. Effective immediately he has been removed from his responsibilities,” Smith said in a statement. “We condemn in the strongest possible manner his comments which are not reflective of the Democratic Party.”
County Democratic Vice Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo will take over Siegel’s responsibilities.
“The recent statements made by Mark were not reflective of the person we have known and worked with for many years — and are certainly not reflective of the views of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party,” a statement from Rizzo said. “Given the nature of these remarks, Mark has rightly chosen to step aside. I will take the reigns effective immediately.”
In an interview with conservative PatriotUpdate.com, Siegel said “I’m Jewish. I’m not a fan of any religion other than Judaism.”
Asked about Christianity, Siegel said: “The Christians just want us to be there so we can be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ…They’re not our friends. They want Israel to pursue policies that are antithetical with its security and existence. The worst possible allies for the Jewish state are the fundamentalist Christians who want Jews to die and convert so they can bring on the second coming of their Lord. It is a false friendship. They are seeking their own ends and not ours.”
The interviewer said “You sound like you’re the opposite of anti-Semitic. You’re anti-Christianic?”
‘No,” Siegel replied. “I don’t believe that the fundamentalists urging a greater Israel are friends of the Jewish state.”
Siegel issued an apology this morning:
“I apologize to all Democrats and Floridians for my ill chosen words last night. After watching the interview I realize that what I said did not accurately make the point I was trying to establish. More importantly I apologize to all Christians, Jews and other people of faith for any embarrassment or anger my remarks may have caused. Throughout my life I have practiced religious tolerance among all people of faith. I am sincerely sorry for any remarks I made that may have diminished that record. I alone am responsible for my remarks and I pray that they are not taken as the position of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.”