UPDATE: Kansas City Mayor Lucas withdraws nominee for zoning board who called Israel ‘a regime with genocidal intentions.’

UPDATE: Mayor Quinton Lucas Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Emerson “Jaz” Hays to the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment, sources at City Hall say.

A Kansas City man nominated by the mayor to a zoning board has posted that Israel is “a regime with genocidal intentions.”

Emerson “Jaz” Hays, responding to news of Israel’s siege of Gaza following terror attacks by Hamas, wrote on social media platform X Monday that “Biden is sending weapons to a regime with genocidal intentions. The only winners will be the weapons manufacturers.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas had previously nominated Hays to be a District 4 alternate on the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which decides on citizens’ requests for variances in zoning.

His appointment was set to be heard at 1 p.m. Tuesday by the city council’s Special Committee for Legal Review, in the council’s 26th-floor chambers.

District 1 Councilman Nathan Willett strenuously objected to Hays’ nomination in a letter to the mayor Monday night:

I am writing to request that you immediately withdraw the appointment of Emerson ‘Jaz’ Hays to the Board of Zoning Adjustment as an Alternate Member. This week, Emerson ‘Jaz’ Hays suggested in a tweet that Israel is a regime with genocidal intentions. He stated that ‘Biden is sending weapons to a regime with genocidal intentions.’

“This statement is deeply offensive to our Jewish Community and doesn’t represent the values of the people in the First District or the people across our great city. 

“Our city, earlier this year, passed a resolution unanimously recognizing the growing problem of antisemitism in America and adopted a working definition of antisemitism as an important educational tool to address it. 

“The comment made by Emerson ‘Jaz’ Hays mischaracterizes one of our nation’s strongest allies and spews up more hatred towards the Jewish Community and Israel. 

“Serving on one of our city’s boards or commissions comes with great standards. I believe this antisemitic comment disqualifies Emerson ‘Jaz’ Hays from serving our city in that capacity.”

The Heartlander asked a spokesperson for Mayor Lucas Tuesday morning if someone with that kind of extremist view toward Israel can fairly decide matters involving Jewish citizens, and whether Mr. Hays’ sentiment runs contrary to the city’s statements of tolerance toward the city’s various communities, including Jewish residents.

Lucas expressed his own feelings toward the attack on Israel at a prayer gathering Monday evening at Temple Congregation B’nai Jehudah.

“To hear the prayers, to see some of the tears, to see the hugs between perfect strangers? Those are the sorts of things that tell me that this is really, really hitting a lot of people in their hearts and their souls,” he told reporters.

Reports say Israeli soldiers have found about 40 dead babies, some decapitated, in Kfar Aza, which Hamas terrorists invaded early Saturday.


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