Thursday, August 29, 2019

Ed Day - A Conservative Republican Antisemite

Rockland County Executive - Republican Ed Day
I say it all the time. I lean politically conservative on most issues. I have no problem defending that since my views are based on religious views. That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that it is the liberal political ethic that underlies what America is all about. Liberalism is at the heart of a society that tolerates ‘others’.

Tolerance for others includes us – the Jewish people.  It is the basis for the line in the Declaration of Independence that says, ‘All men are created equal’. Even though the founding fathers were not Jewish, they welcomed us as fellow citizens. Religious tolerance was part of their credo. Acceptance of others not like yourself as equals is what liberalism is all about (or at least should be.) That is what really makes America great!

Conservatism on the other hand tends to promote ideals that are exclusive to a specific set of ideals. And to not see people with other ideals as equals. So why, one may ask, do I lean conservative? Because liberalism can be carried too far. The acceptance of ‘others’ is not only about people. It is also about acceptance of their ideals even when they are at odds with their own ideals. It is the acceptance of everyone and everything as OK as long as it doesn’t hurt others. In other words liberalism is based on the type of humanism where very little if anything is sacred. To a liberal no individual or group has a monopoly on values. To each his own. everything is OK unless it hurts others. Which is why today’s American liberal favors civil rights over religious rights.

I lean conservative because liberalism as it has evolved has crossed a line that often comes into conflict with my conservative religious values. Values that political conservatives see much the same way I do.

But if push came to shove I would sooner put my life in the hands of a liberal like Jesse Jackson than I would in the hands of a conservative like Ed Day - given only those two choices. (More about Ed Day later.)

That being said, I try to be objective in evaluating all issues without considering whether my view on the subject is liberal or conservative one. Most of the time it ends up being conservative. But not all the time. Which is why I only ‘lean’ conservative. I am liberal on some issues.

I mention all of this in light of what is happening in  New York’s Rockland County. To briefly sum up, the fast growing Orthodox Jewish (mostly Chasidic) community of Ramapo is trying to expand into a neighboring town that has no recognizable Jews. It is a town with a suburban like setting of single family homes with lots of land; lots of outdoor space; and little traffic -  where neighbors share common American middle class values.

Neighboring Ramapo’s Orthodox Jewish community is trying to expand into it because there has been an explosion of over development in that town resulting in many ugly multi-unit buildings and no thoughts about the necessary infrastructure that should be included that would alleviate traffic congestion and parking issues those multi unit homes cause.  Gone is the ambiance those communities were originally known for. Gone is the open spaces and the quaint little shops in strip malls that was much of the charm those communities had.

Now, as the population continues to grow at a rapid pace, some are beginning to look at neighboring towns while Ramapo is looking more like the concrete jungle of Brooklyn from which they all escaped.

That is of course their right. But the Rockland County Executive - conservative Republican Ed Day will have none of that. He wants to keep the town Jew free. He sees what ‘next door’ looks like and fears his town will be the second coming of Boro Park.

Ed Day has the right to express the desire to keep his town the way it is. I even agree that some of what he sees happening in Ramapo is not what I would want happening in my town. In fact there are plenty of Orthodox Jews in Ramapo that feel the same way. But that is not how Ed Day is attacking the problem. He is using thinly disguised antisemitism to whip up support for his cause. The latest of which is a video produced bRepublican Party chairman in Rockland County, Lawrence Garvey.(Which can be viewed at VIN) This video would make the Third Reich’s propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels proud.

 Elected Ramapo city official, Aron Wieder
Though it does not mention ‘Jews’  at all - that does not make it any less antisemitic. The images are clear. Pictures speak louder than words. With ominous music playing in the background they focus on a what they call a ‘storm’ brewing by way of a plot to take over the town by Jews led by Aron Weider – a Chasidic looking elected member of the Rockland County legislature. Starting with the purchase of land  there to build a yeshiva.

Their video accuses Aron Weider and company of using nefarious methods being to accomplish  taking over the town.. Such as exercising their  political power to redraw district  lines  thereby increasing their control over all of Rockland County. The video even has the audacity to say that this is about saving their homes, their families, their schools, their water, their communities, and their way of life -  from the vermin about to invade them. (OK - they didn’t use the word vermin. But they may as well have.) The video even has a map with animated arrows moving from Ramapo into their town. It is reminiscent of the animated World War II maps I’ve seen illustrating the Nazi invasion of Poland! This is not a coincidence, I’m sure.

NYS Attorney General - Democrat Letitia James
The imagery is frightening. They can deny it all they want. This is about as antisemitic as any piece of propaganda can get. Instead of arguing the merit of his complaints - this conservative Republican County Executive has exposed himself for the rabid antisemite he is. He is not fooling anyone! 

That should be obvious to anyone that watches this political ad. It certainly was to Letitia James, the liberal Democratic New York State Attorney General who tweeted the following: 
“The anti-Semitic video from the Rockland County GOP is deeply disturbing,” she tweeted. “They must remove & condemn it. Saying that members of the Jewish community are a threat to families, our safety & that they must be stopped is despicable.” 
Being a conservative leaning voter does not mean I should rationalize away a fellow conservative’s antisemitism just because he didn’t mention the word ‘Jew’. Nor does it mean criticizing a liberal Democrat for playing the antisemitism card where there wasn’t any antisemitism. It was there in spades - clear as Day. And it was every bit as disturbing as James said it was. Good for her.  I could not agree more

Update (from VIN):
After the widespread condemnation, the Rockland County GOP succumbed to the pressure and removed the video.