PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Commerce Director Michael Rashid has resigned, Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Sunday. Rashid resigned after he reportedly made anti-Semitic remarks and verbally abused his staff.
“Today I offered, and Mayor Kenney accepted, my resignation as Director of Commerce. My continued service would serve as a distraction from the work of the Department, which is far too important to the City and region,” Rashid said in a statement. “I also have had the opportunity to speak with leaders of the Jewish community in Philadelphia and apologize for my previous comments which were inappropriate and insensitive. I look forward to future engagement with the community going forward.”
Rashid collaborated with City Council, Ready, Set, Philly, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, the Equity Alliance, and others during his time working in city government.
“I’ve accepted Mr. Rashid’s resignation today in light of his inappropriate comments. The work of the Commerce Department is far too crucial—and it’s important that the Department stays focused on its mission of supporting Philadelphia’s business community at this critical time as we continue to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic,” Kenney said in a release. “The City is committed to ensuring a fair and inclusive working environment where the values of respect and dignity are upheld.”
The American Jewish Committee previously called for Rashid’s resignation in a statement following the report:
“Zero tolerance for antisemitism means that Philadelphia Commerce Director Michael Rashid, whose antisemitic remarks were reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, must resign immediately. And zero tolerance means that Mayor Jim Kenney must speak out, per the Mayors United Against Antisemitism pledge he signed.
In 2020, Mayor Kenney joined American Jewish Committee’s national Mayors United Against Antisemitism initiative in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. To date, more than 700 mayors have signed the statement declaring unequivocally that antisemitism is incompatible with the democratic values that are at the very bedrock of our society.
AJC calls on Mayor Kenney to take immediate action in line with this pledge by calling for Rashid to resign and work with the Jewish community to educate all city offices and city-funded institutions on the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and utilize Translate Hate, an AJC resource that clearly explains when statements are antisemitic. Only through education and accountability will Philadelphia truly be the city of brotherly love where pluralism and diversity are respected and honored.”