Gwinnett candidate drops out after inflammatory tweets about Jews

Nov 06, 2017
Suwanee City Council candidate Joe Briggs (Facebook photo)

The Suwanee city council candidate who drew ire last week for a series of inflammatory tweets about Jews and Israel has ended his candidacy.

Joe Briggs, a 59-year-old engineer, will no longer challenge incumbent Suwanee Councilwoman Beth Hilscher in the election held Tuesday.

“Neither the community nor my family deserved this,” Briggs, who has said he’s anti-Israel but not anti-Semitic, wrote in a Monday afternoon email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He clarified he was speaking about the backlash to his tweets.

“We need to be able to have frank discussions about delicate topics without fear of reprisal,” Briggs wrote in another email.

More: The AJC’s 2017 Gwinnett County voter’s guide

Last week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published screenshots of several tweets written by Briggs over the last year-plus. They compared Jews to Nazis, refer to Zionists as “cockroaches” and called American slavery “cheap labor to big business.”

“Get the Jews out of the White House and out of POTUS’ ear,” Briggs wrote in a tweet from September that referenced the U.S. weighing a more “aggressive” approach in Iran.

The tweets, many of which had been deleted or placed behind a privacy wall, were obtained by The AJC after the wife of a current Suwanee city councilman, who is Jewish, posted about them online. Briggs confirmed them to be authentic.

More: Buford cancels city election after candidate’s disqualification

But Briggs, who had campaigned on promises to stop what he dubbed Suwanee’s “over-development” problem, previously told The AJC that he was “not racist in the least.” He described himself as a critic of the Israeli government, not an anti-Semite.

Hilscher, the incumbent Suwanee councilwoman, will now be unchallenged for her Post 4 seat. 

“The ballots are what they are, since early voting has already started,”city spokeswoman Abby  Wilkerson said. “We will have signage [Tuesday] morning in front of City Hall, alerting voters to the change.”

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