AIDS Healthcare Foundation accuses landlord advocate of antisemitism
California Apartment Association denies charge by political rival group
Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a sponsor of the Justice for Renters Act on next year’s state ballot, accused the California Apartment Association’s political communications of antisemitism.
In a full page ad published Nov. 24 in Jewish News of Northern California, the non-profit and activist organization- accused CAA of referring to AHF co-founder and President Michael Weinstein with language in political communications that it deemed as antisemitic.
“You characterize him as a selfish, cheap, greedy slumlord and a scamming drug manipulator who is only out for himself,” the AHF advertisement noted. “ In other words, you are saying Michael is a modern-day Shylock — an antisemitic trope if there ever was one.”
An AHF statement also took offense at CAA activists dressed as cockroaches who distributed flyers critiquing AHF during the Democratic Party’s state convention in Sacramento on the weekend of Nov. 18.
Statements from the CAA-sponsored initiative Protect Patients Now rejected AHF’s accusation.
The cockroach suits were intended to illustrate media reports of slum-like conditions at AHF owned and managed buildings, said Nathan Click, a representative for Protect Patients Now. It’s a proposed ballot measure that would strip nonprofit status from drug programs that have spent more than $100 million on issues other than direct patient care.
Click said that the voter signatures are currently being collected in order to place it on the November ballot. AHF argued that a public funding program, called 340B, that allows it to buy prescription drugs at a deep discount, also allows it to spend a certain percentage on political activity.
Protect Patients Now also offered a denial from its ally, Bob Hertzberg, former speaker of the California State Assembly and member emeritus of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.
“We are living in difficult times. During these very painful times for our Jewish community, it is wrong, in every sense of the word, for Michael Weinstein to now claim antisemitism to distract from this important story when the City [of Los Angeles] is working so diligently to find good and decent homes for the unhoused,” Hertzberg said in a prepared statement.