Words matter. Donald Trump is fully aware of what he is doing when he incites people at his rallies to violence. This has been a long-standing pattern of his. It works like this: he draws people in with a wicked charisma. Then, when he has them hooked, he urges his followers to commit crimes. Still, Trump’s hands are not clean.
A county just an hour north of New York City has been an unexpected hotbed of racial tensions that Trump’s words have helped inspire people into action. The Rockland County Republican Party Chapter was just accused of being anti-Semitic. Its rapidly growing Orthodox Jewish population makes up approximately 33 percent of the county’s population.
The Rockland County GOP chapter produced and posted an anti-Semitic campaign video. It was a warning about a local lawmaker Aron Wieder. It claimed that the man, who is Orthodox, had plotted a Jewish invasion and “takeover” of the county according to The Forward:
‘This wildly anti-Semitic video from the Rockland County GOP warns of a “takeover” by Hasidic Jews of “our” homes, families, schools, communities, water(?!?), and “our way of life” Warns that “others have lost the fight” and flashes headlines about other NY Hasidic communities.’
This wildly anti-Semitic video from the Rockland County GOP warns of a “takeover” by Hasidic Jews of “our” homes, families, schools, communities, water(?!?), and “our way of life”
Warns that “others have lost the fight” and flashes headlines about other NY Hasidic communities. pic.twitter.com/X89uChuMFM
— Joe Konig (@TheJoeKonig) August 29, 2019
The video compiles hazy images of Aron Wieder attached to local headlines of Jewish-Christian tensions and against a stormy soundtrack. Although this hate-filled video was quickly taken down, the Republicans and others had time to capture it. Its graphics said:
‘What’s at stake: Our homes, our families, our schools, our communities, our water, our way of life. If they win, we lose. Take back control.’
New York Attorney General (AG) Tish James released a statement against the video that read:
‘This video is deeply disturbing and should be removed and condemned immediately by the Rockland County Republican Party. 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 locals have attacked the Jews with anti-Semitic propaganda:
The Republican Jewish Coalition condemned the video, too, in this tweeted statement:
‘This video is absolutely despicable. It is pure anti-Semitism, and should be immediately taken down. The Rockland County Republican Party is an embarrassment and has no place associating itself with our party.’
After the video was removed, Rockland County Republican Party Chair Lawrence Garvey indicated he thought that the video was appropriate. He released a statement reading:
‘This is not, nor has it ever been a religious issue. It is an issue of right and wrong. 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,” he added. “What is happening in Rockland is unconscionable.’
There was no explanation for why the group took down the video even as they defended it. Apparently, the Rockland County Republican Party had been condemned for putting out anti-Semitic advertising in 2015, too.
The spot claimed that former Democratic sheriff Lou Falco “refused to enforce illegal housing laws.” It also included a photo of him celebrating with Hasidic Jews. The Anti-Defamation League criticized it.
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