The chairman of Rockland County’s legislature on Wednesday condemned as “divisive” a video produced by the county Republican party which appeared to blame Orthodox Jews for local housing issues.
Alden H. Wolfe, a Democrat whose position is similar to speaker in the legislature, added his voice to the Anti-Defamation League’s censure earlier this week of a campaign video.
Imagery on the tape for a Republican nominee for county sheriff has incumbent Sheriff Louis Falco, a Democrat, surrounded by Orthodox Jews. A voiceover warns that Falco has refused to enforce illegal housing laws.
“Sadly, the growing trend of using fear, hatred and divisiveness for political gain continues unabated by the Republican Party in Rockland County,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe added that he was “personally offended by the video and the ‘boogeyman’ campaigns of lies and misinformation” and called on the GOP and elected officials to denounce it.
“Unfortunately, the silence is deafening,” he said. “These kind of attacks show the wrong kind of leadership for Rockland. While illegal housing is a serious issue, we need leaders who can contribute ideas, not stir up hatred.”
The 30-second video, “Where Does Louis Falco Stand on Illegal Housing?” was released in April in support of Republican Richard Vasquez’s campaign to unseat Falco.
The Sheriff’s Department is not responsible for enforcing housing issues; they are under the jurisdiction of local village building inspectors.
“I honestly believe my opponent and the current administration of the Republican party is trying to create a greater division and anti-Semitic sentiment in Rockland County,” Falco, who stands for reelection in November, told News12.
The county GOP, which is controlled by county executive Ed Day, has recently drawn ire from Jewish residents with its provocative social media posts.
Hamodia has sent several emails to state Republican party spokesman David Laska asking if these comments reflect the state party’s views. None have been answered.