New York – At a rally on the steps of City Hall on Monday, prominent Jewish Leaders will speak out against Carl Paladino and issue the following joint statement:
Today, we join with other prominent New Yorkers of all faiths to express our outrage at Carl Paladino’s nomination as the Republican nominee for governor. His extreme views and repugnant comments are out-of-step with New York values and make him unfit for public office.
Mr. Paladino has rightly been called to account for a series of inflammatory statements he has made since launching his bid for governor. Just last week, a bi-partisan group of state leaders, including former Mayor Ed Koch and former Senator Al D’amato, declared that Mr. Paladino “practices a destructive brand of politics that will divide our state.”
The Jewish Community, however, is particularly alarmed by Mr. Paladino’s attack on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Orthodox Jew. Mr. Paladino said “[i]f I could ever describe a person who would fit the bill of an Antichrist or a Hitler, this guy is it.”
Attacking a Jewish leader as the “anti-Christ” has long served as a serious warning to the Jewish community, historically acting as a prelude to anti-Semitic violence. Evoking the false charge that the Jewish community was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, the term “anti-Christ” has inspired centuries of bloody attacks on Jews, beginning with the pogroms of the Middle Ages and extending through to Iran’s present-day leaders. It is irresponsible and inexcusable for Mr. Paladino to tar a Jewish political adversary with a anti-Semitic code word. His comments would be unacceptable in any state in America, but are especially outrageous in New York, a state with a sizeable Jewish community and a history of religious tolerance.
For Paladino to then, in the same breath, associate a Jewish political figure with Hitler, a mass murderer who killed six million fellow Jews, along with countless others, only adds insult to injury. Those types of false and incendiary comparisons have no place in our politics and neither does Mr. Paladino.
As leaders who represent diverse constituencies within the Jewish community, we do not agree on everything. We are united, however, in our belief that Mr. Paladino’s repugnant conduct and outrageous comments have disqualified him from serving as governor of our state.
The rally by Jewish leaders will take place on the steps of City Hall in New York City at 11 am on Monday, September 20.
Participants at The rally will be:
NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind
Rabbi Yechiel Kaufman, Executive Director; Jewish Community Council of Boro Park
Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, Executive director; Rabbinical Alliance of America