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DC councilman apologizes for claiming the weather is controlled by Jews

D.C. Council Member Trayon White Sr. Photo via Twitter
D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr., D-Ward 8, posted a video on his Facebook page saying the snow resulted from “the Rothschilds controlling the climate.” (Trayon White/Facebook via Washington Post)

WASHINGTON (RNS) — A city councilman in the nation’s capital has apologized for propagating a conspiracy theory that Jewish financiers control the weather.

On Sunday (March 18), D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr., a Democrat, posted a video to Facebook shortly after snow flurries began to fall in the region. The clip, which was published at 7:21 a.m., featured a narration by White as the camera was pointed out a car windshield to showcase wintry conditions.

“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” White said. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

Mayer Amschel Rothschild was a Jewish banker in 18th-century Frankfurt, Germany, who, with his wealthy family, has long been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. “In the literature of bigots,” the Rothschilds have been targeted in attacks on Jews as manipulators of global events, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Blowback to White’s remarks — which included outcry from at least one local rabbi — was swift. Although White initially told The Washington Post he was unsure why the video was being framed as anti-Semitic, he issued an apology hours later.

“I work hard everyday to combat racism and prejudices of all kinds. I want to apologize to the Jewish Community and anyone I have offended,” White told the Post on Sunday.

“The Jewish community have been allies with me in my journey to help people. I did not intend to be anti-Semitic, and I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues.”

About the author

Jack Jenkins

Jack Jenkins is a national reporter for RNS based in Washington, covering U.S. Catholics and the intersection of religion and politics.

22 Comments

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  • Perhaps Mr. White can visit the nearby and local Holocaust Museum. He might find it educational. Then he can sit down with folks at the Weather Service. They can explain that no one controls the weather. I guess someone has to explain this to Mr. White because he obviously is unaware of this reality, as well as much else.

  • Nobody likes to talk about it, but there is this oily, half-buried streak of Anti-Semitism among black liberals.

    Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan, Tamika Mallory (co-president of the Women’s March), NYC black talk radio (occasionally, late at night), and now this black DC councilman.

    Of course, this last Anti-Semitic claim was a bit weird, even by black liberal standards. Jewish-Americans are using super weather-control weapons on us po’ little black folks?

    Say it ain’t so, Arbustin.

  • Silly man. Everyone knows that it is Big Gay that controls the weather.

    We gay people are so very powerful. Beware. Beware. Bewaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare.

  • Not just Black liberals though. Black conservatives are also anti-Semitic just in a different way.

  • Well, okay.
    Since liberal Rep. Maxine Waters ain’t here to explain why she was sitting on the Nation Of Islam convention stage as Farrakhan defended Palestinian suicide bombers, I guess I’ll have to try offering an explanation of the black conservative position instead.

    So tell me the real deal. How, exactly, are black conservatives “anti-Semitic just in a different way”?

  • I didn’t realize Maxine Waters was at a Nation of Islam convention.

    They are religiously antisemitic. There are Black Christians who are trying to convert Jews. Yes it’s antisemitic. They are trying to reduce the number of Jews. There are Black Christians who think the Jews killed Jesus, etc.

  • The comments by White show what a fool he is. It will be v. interesting to see how his supporters/voters react.

    I think the rabbi who criticized White didn’t do it in the most effective way. Instead of the usual criticism of anti-Semitism, wouldn’t the criticism have been more effective if he’d just laughed at White and ridiculed him?

  • No, it’s pretty ridiculous. Even Roy Hobs is like “Dude, get a grip.” Although The Home Depot was founded by Jews. More snow, more people buy snow blowers and shovels?
    In all seriousness, the Jewish press (not “The Jewish Media”) has been covering the hubbub about Farrakhan and the Women’s March. There’s been a lot of handwringing, people arguing about it on Facebook, etc. Basically, Jews on the left are asking how to support a movement without lending legitimacy to those parts of the movement that would exclude them and dismiss them as “white.”

  • In the UK Labour members are blaming Israel for the poisoning of the Skripals. Jews have always served as a scapegoat for the left and right. August Babel, a German socialist, said that “antisemitism is the socialism of fools.”

  • Farrakhan’s 2002 convention applauded like crazy when he introduced Waters sitting on the stage behind him. The NOI leader was all euphoria, for he really digs boosting his platform with that black star-power.

    Meanwhile, the fact is that the let’s-assign-exclusive-crucifixion-blame-on-the-Jews meme, is clearly refuted by Romans and of course the Gospel of John (see John 3:16).

    Our common, universal, fatal problem is sin. (Romans 3:9) That’s why Jesus paid the price for us all, on the Cross. No one people-group gets all the blame; no one people-group gets a free pass. All we like sheep have turned away, Isaiah said. All sinners.

    But even black Christians can be influenced by Anti-Semitic viruses unless they stick to what the Bible says.

  • That is disturbing and disappointing. Maxine Waters is not the person I thought she was. Why should Jews have to give up their self-respect and support people who won’t oppose antisemitism in all its forms?

    Jews don’t believe in original sin. Jews tend to believe that we have a good side and a bad side and that we must continually feed the good side. We believe God knows that we sin will forgive us for not being perfect.

  • Parts of the “New Testament” are a polemic to prove the moral superiority of Christianity over Judaism. There is anti-Judaism is the “New Testament” itself.

  • So, you’re suggesting that the only way for Christians to shake the “anti-semitic” label is to disavow Christianity?

    That sounds like Abraham Henry Foxman.

  • No, I am not suggesting that. I think the Catholic Church has done a better job of reconciling with Judaism than other Christian denominations, especially Pope Francis. They should also realize that not every word of the “New Testament” is literally the truth. I don’t believe that every word of the Hebrew Bible is literally the truth. All Christians need a serious lesson on who the Pharisees really were. They were not villainous. They weren’t even petty-fogging hypocrites. A suggestion to Religion News Service staff, they really need to do a ‘Splainer on the Pharisees.

  • Actually, you are suggesting that, although you are apparently not intending that.

    Likewise “They should also realize that not every word of the “New Testament” is literally the truth.” also intrudes into another religion’s internal affairs, which was Abe Foxman’s constant error.

    Basically folks should keep their hands to themselves and let each religion sort itself out.

    The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism. Some of them were villainous, and some hypocrites.

    Yes, in general Christians would benefit from know a lot more about Judaism at that time, and recognition that Jesus was a Jew.

    That goes both ways. The relationship between Judaism and the early Christian communities was extremely antagonistic, and while for the most part modern Jewish texts have expunged the record of that antagonism, the Christians have not felt the need to do it since they’ve ruled the roost.

    Judaism in the first CE century was not Judaism as it exists today.

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