Anthony J. Portantino, Democratic Assembly Representative from California's 44th District, has introduced AB144, which would ban open carry of firearms in California. The Assemblyman introduced the bill on January 13th, in the immediate aftermath of the Tuscon shootings which killed six people and injured many others.
Portantino, who turns 50 on January 29th, was first elected to the state legislature in November 2006. Born in New Jersey, he was reportedly the youngest of four children and lost his father at a young age. His mother was his biggest influence, and her 'warm Italian heart' inspired him. He worked in the entertainment industry on such tv productions as 'Unsolved Mysteries' and 'Grizzly Adams' before entering local politics. He served as the Mayor of La Canada Flintridge for two terms and served eight years on its city council.
Twenty four days after returing from a so-called 'Legislative Study Trip' to Israel with the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California, the lawmaker decided that no one in California should be allowed to carry a firearm, even if it's unloaded.
Repeatedly describing his experience in Israel as "overwhelming", the obese left-winger shared his thoughts in a column he wrote posted on a Jewish website. "I am very glad I joined the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles on the 2010 Legislative Study Trip," he began. Portantino continued, "Interwoven into our trip has been a connection of the religious and historical importance of Israel with the current geopolitical situation in the Middle East. It is very clear to me that most Israelis, like most people, want to live in peace...It has been fascinating, learning the nuances of a parliamentary form of government and its impact on how Israel approaches national security."
He noted that "the security of all Israelis is the most unifying political issue." Portantino describes attending a lecture by 'Holocaust educator' Dr. Rachel Korazim in which she "had us role play as Jews", adding "It is an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life." Portantino also had an 'extensive visit' with Israeli politician Yoel Hasson , member of the Knesset and former chairman of the Likud youth.
Despite claiming to be a practicing Catholic, Portantino "placed a note to God into the Ha-Kotal" (wailing wall). The lawmaker's full account can be read here. The article notes "From December 12-20, a group of California state legislators are experiencing Israel, most for the first time. They are traveling with The Jewish Federation on a special trip that includes meetings with advisors to the Prime Minister, Members of the Knesset, academics, journalists and others", also receiving "briefings in security issues by IDF officers".
The Jewish Pubic Affairs Committee (JPAC) states on their website that "Each year, JPAC member communities sponsor California state legislators’ travel to Israel for a 9-day study trip. Experiencing Israel, most for the first time, it is a unique educational opportunity to learn first-hand about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East region. Legislators visit various historical sites and meet with their counterparts in the Israeli government to discuss shared challenges and best practices and to learn about Israeli homeland security and bioterrorism, environmental practices, multiculturalism in education, and the political system, amongst other issues."
Here is a list of other California politicians who have gone on the trip in years past. JPAC also holds lobbying days with lawmakers, such as the one held May 10-11, 2010 and a future '2011 advocacy day' set for May 9-10, 2011.
In their 2009-2010 Legislative Activities Overview, JPAC admitted that they promote and help pass measures "brought to JPAC by the ADL." The ADL, or Anti-Defamation League, for decades has been advocating stricter gun control measures across the United States. Over a decade ago, they boasted on their website that "The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has reaffirmed support for gun control initiatives designed to make it more difficult for extremists as well as children to acquire and use guns and other dangerous weapons in this country."
The ADL has a particular disdain for libertarians and Ron Paul supporters, anti-Zionists and 'conspiracy theorists'. They recently scoffed at the 'conspiracy theory' notion of 'government plots' to 'confiscate firearms from American citizens to render them defenseless'.
The ADL continually derides the Oath Keepers, the resurgence of the militia movement, and anyone who dares to question the government version of 9/11. In their report Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies, the ADL noted 'Many of these groups have appropriated an idealized version of Revolutionary War history for their own purposes, stressing the armed resistance of the American colonists to British “tyranny” and suggesting that Americans today should act as their revolutionary forebears did.'
Further, the ADL claims that white supremacists, anti-Semites, and those opposing illegal immigration support Ron Paul and "exploit Tea Parties to disseminate their hateful views and recruit a larger following."
Last year, L.A. County Sheriffs and the L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supported a proposed bill banning open carry in California. Villaraigosa is one of the politicians listed as going to Israel on a previous JPAC trip.
Portantino's wife Ellen is reportedly a local businesswoman who hosts charity events. He has two daughters, including 19 year old Sofia. Portantino recently got the DMV to publish rules barring Californians from leaving their pets in their cars.
Rabbi Nachum Shifren, in his article The ADL vs. Faith and Freedom, writes "It is difficult to write about Jewish traitors, but I have the obligation to do so. My life as an American and a Jew is rooted in one miracle: individual liberty and freedom of speech and conscience. We are living in dangerous times, times when men of good will are afraid to speak out. There are some things you cannot say in America today. I will say them anyway."