Broward News

[Updated] Davie Councilwoman Susan Starkey Accused of Ethnic Bias Against Jews

A Davie street sign commemorating a donation by a Muslim group has triggered controversy for Susan Starkey, a longtime member of the Davie Town Council who allegedly hurled an accusation at Jews while arguing that the sign should stay.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is the donor, having adopted a road near Nova Southeastern University through a county beautification program. But the sign also has the logo of the Town of Davie, which can take it down if it sees fit.

And that is the source of the conflict that occurred December 18, at  the Davie / Cooper City Republican Club's holiday party. That club's president, Jeff Rubinoff, wanted Starkey to have the sign removed based on CAIR's associations with
Their exchange is part of a press release by the Americans Against Hate:

According to Rubinoff, during Starkey's talk with him, the conversation quickly deteriorated into an anti-Semitic rant, where Starkey charged that "Jews are trying to convert everyone."

That full release is here.

It's a bit odd for Starkey and Rubinoff to clash. After all, Starkey is a Republican, too. But maybe it's another illustration of the Republican Party of Florida's civil war, as moderates struggle against the party's more conservative wing. Note that Starkey touts her passion for the environment and membership in the Sierra Club -- not exactly favorites of the Glenn Beck crowd.

Americans Against Hate calls itself a "terrorism watchdog group" and its chairman Joe Kaufman is also the founder of CAIR Watch. He's demanding that Starkey make a public apology to the Jewish community.

We'll see if we can get in touch with these folks later today.

UPDATE: I haven't heard back from Starkey, but Kaufman called me this afternoon. His objections to CAIR are based on past members of its organization having financial ties to Hamas as well as to another group with allegedly radical views, the Islamic Association for Palestine.

But what does this have to do with a road sign in Davie? Apparently, Kaufman objects to the appearance of CAIR's name next to the town and county logos.

"We're saying it's an issue of terrorism," says Kaufman. "They (Davie and Broward County) shouldn't be given this privilege to this organization."

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Thomas Francis