Saad's statement after resignation vote
After a vote of 4-3 vote by ...
Mayor Barnett discuses resignation vote
After a 4-3 vote Mayor Bill Barnett ...
4-3 vote asks for Sam Saad's resignation
A non-binding vote in the Naples City ...
Whether the allegations were true or not, reactions to antisemitism allegations against Naples councilman Sam Saad weren’t limited to City Hall.
Temple Shalom Rabbi Baht Yameem Weiss said she didn’t know who was responsible for a blog nor additional details of Naples City councilman Sam Saad’s remarks about Jewish leaders.
Saad was asked at Wednesday’s council meeting to address comments made about him on Arab Racism Islamo fascism, a Wordpress blog. The anonymous blog references a 2006 appearance Saad made on an Arab international cable channel show Downstairs Cafe, and alleges Saad made anti-Semitic comments regarding Jewish politicians.
“I think that the important thing to remember is that all words have great impact,” Weiss said.
This could be a real case of “careless comments,” she added.
Yet, thoughtless comments, Weiss said, are hurtful, sad and frustrating.
Weiss didn’t want to pass judgment on Saad, whom she has never met, but she said he has the responsibility of being ethical, fair-minded and unbiased as a councilman for the community.
Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, agreed.
“If council member Saad holds these views, I think these views and these statements are inappropriate for any office holder,” said Simon. “I think they are so divisive and so offensive, as to threaten people’s confidence that their government would treat them the same regardless of race or religion.”
On Wednesday, Councilman Gary Price asked council members to approve a resolution asking for the newly elected councilman’s resignation over Saad being involved in a controversy about driving with a suspended license.
Mayor Bill Barnett then dropped the bombshell, mentioning anonymous blog postings accusing Saad of making racist statements on the Downstairs Cafe TV show more than four years ago.
Saad said a blog post describes him as part of an anti-Jewish, pro-Arab conspiracy to infiltrate the government. Saad said that post does not reflect his beliefs.
The blog post states that Saad, who is of Lebanese decent, said he was troubled with U.S. government because it had too many Jewish leaders. Mayor Barnett is Jewish.
Saad acknowledged he was on the television show but said he doesn’t recall making such statements.
The Naples City Council voted 4-3 to ask Councilman Sam Saad to resign. Saad told the City Council he would talk to his family Tuesday night and have an answer for Council Wednesday. But immediately after the meeting, Saad told the media that he isn’t planning to resign.
“We are not talking about a blog that adheres to any standard of journalism,” said Simon. “I don’t think the Naples Council should be so quick to be hoodwinked by a blog. They need to act more responsibly by making their own judgment.”
Simon said he believed the Naples City Council lost sight of the fact that anyone in 21st century America could be a blogger— be it a journalist or a rumor-monger trading on fear.
“If we used to say don’t believe everything you read in a newspaper, that goes 10 times for a blog,” said Simon, adding that it appeared that City Council members were just accepting the blog as truth and that it was irresponsible. “I think the City Council has abdicated responsibility by accepting this as truth.”
MULTIMEDIA: SAM SAAD
- DOCUMENTS: Read 58-pages of e-mails from residents about Naples City Councilman Sam Saad (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Sam Saad's letter to Naples City Council (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Naples City Councilman Sam Saad's driving record (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Screen shots from the "Arab racism Islamo fascism" blog that comments on Sam Saad's remarks (on page 3 of 3) (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Councilman Gary Price's statement regarding Sam Saad (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Resolution asking Sam J. Saad III to resign (.pdf)
- VIDEO: 4-3 vote asks for Sam Saad's resignation
- VIDEO: Mayor Barnett discuses resignation vote
- VIDEO: Saad's statement after resignation vote
- VIDEO: Council asks for Saad's resignation
- VIDEO: Saad blames 'people playing gotcha'
- PHOTOS: Saad asked to resign amid allegations of racism
- PHOTOS: City council member driving on suspended license
- STORY: Saad to Naples council: 'I look forward to serving the balance of my term'
- STORY: Seat of any office holder no place for antisemitism, others say
- STORY: VIDEOS/PHOTOS: Naples councilman says he won't resign amid accusations of antisemitism
- STORY: VIDEO: Saad says Naples has bigger issues than his driving record
- STORY: Naples council member Saad apologizes about driving transgressions