A Facebook campaign ad from an upstate New York county’s Republican Party has been slammed as anti-Semitic and “deeply disturbing.”
Titled “A storm is brewing in Rockland,” the video takes aim at the large and growing Hasidic Jewish community in the county, the specter of “overdevelopment” and a proposed yeshiva campus.
The video, which appeared to have been removed on Thursday morning, features menacing music, the slogan “If They Win, We Lose” and a warning that “they” will “change our way of life.”
“Aron Wieder and his Ramapo bloc are plotting a takeover,” the video intones, referring to a Hasidic legislator representing a Rockland County town with a large Orthodox population. The ad warns that “chaotic development” and redistricting threaten “our” home, schools, families — and water.
“This video is deeply disturbing and should be removed and condemned immediately by the Rockland County Republican Party,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “To clearly state that members of the Jewish community are a threat to families and our safety and that they must be stopped is despicable and completely unacceptable. Attacking those who are different than we are only breeds hate and makes us weaker. We must all stand together to denounce this hateful video.”
The Republican Party chairman in Rockland County, Lawrence Garvey, defended the video in a Facebook post on the party’s page.
“Regardless of your thoughts of the video, there are facts that cannot be ignored. This is not, nor has it ever been a religious issue. It is an issue of right and wrong,” he wrote. “For those not living in Rockland, it is harder to see a real and unique problem that exists here. The people of Rockland have become desperate for attention to the problems facing our communities and many live every day with the threat of losing their homes and neighborhoods.
“Anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption, or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic without any concern for facts or without any idea of the true issues at hand.”