Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman, Mark Seigel, announced his resignation after bowing to mounting pressure to give up his position with the party. The beleaguered official had been severely criticized for the anti-Christian comments he made in an interview during the recent Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
At the convention, Seigel granted an interview to a reporter from the Conservative Patriot Update website in which he said, “I’m Jewish. I’m not a fan of any religion other than Judaism.” When asked how he felt about Christianity, Siegel replied, “The Christians just want us to be there (in Israel) so we can be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ.” The video quickly went viral on YouTube, and Seigel was bombarded with demands for his resignation.
Florida Democratic Chairman, Rod Smith, appointed Terrie Rizzo as the new leader of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. Rizzo had served previously as vice chairman for the county.
Many prominent Florida Democrats were relieved over the news of Seigel’s resignation, including State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, who told WPTV that Siegel “did the right thing.” Representative Abruzzo said, “now we can move forward and talk about the issues important to the people of Palm Beach County. We have an excellent leader in our new Chair Terrie Rizzo.”
How voters will respond is a matter for debate. The 2012 Democratic Convention was marked by controversy, including a raucous floor fight over adding the mention of God and Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel back into the Democratic Party Platform. Certainly the comments of Mark Seigel do not reflect the mainstream of Democratic thinking. However, Republicans will continue to claim that President Obama is hostile to Israel, and Mr. Seigel’s comments will not be helpful to the Democratic cause.