ADL Concerned Over Rockland GOP Blaming Jews


A video produced by the Rockland County Republican party endorsing a candidate for county sheriff comes uncomfortably close to anti-Semitic caricatures and is “highly offensive,” a national Jewish group countering anti-Semitism warned on Monday.

The Anti-Defamation League expressed concern regarding a video on the Rockland Republican Party website. It includes a photo of County Sheriff Louis Falco, a Democrat, surrounded by Orthodox community members. A voiceover warning that the sheriff has refused to enforce illegal housing laws suggests that Orthodox Jews are responsible, the ADL said.

“We find the use of an image of visibly identifiable Jews in this campaign video to be deeply troubling, highly offensive, and inappropriate,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL’s New York regional director. “It essentially blames the Orthodox Jewish community for the substandard and illegal housing problems in Rockland.”

The video supports the candidacy of Republican Richard Vasquez in November’s election.

“The Republican Party,” said county legislator Ilan Schoenberger, “by posting this on its website, has shown that they agree and support this negative stereotype of religious Jews and intend to use these harmful portrayals for their political campaign purposes. This is inappropriate and offensive.”

Schoenberger said in a press release that he intends to sponsor a resolution to formally support the ADL position.

The county GOP, which is controlled by county executive Ed Day, has recently drawn ire from Jewish residents with its provocative social media posts.

“Lately,” one post from last Wednesday says, “the Rockland GOP has been trying to bring attention to the operations of the Political Machine centered in Monsey and New Square.”

A post on May 27 refers derogatorily to Orthodox Jews as “a group of individuals from parts of Ramapo who vote together … as a ‘bloc.’”

“When Governors, Congresswomen, U.S. Senators and Presidential Candidates come to see them and court their vote, it is clear that they have enormous political influence,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, that influence is used to help very specific groups at the expense of others.”

An email sent by Hamodia last week to state Republican party spokesman David Laska asking if these comments reflect party views has not been answered.

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