By Ron Kampeas and Ben Sales
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republicans in Alaska, Washington state, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California have run ads showing Jewish Democrats handling cash.
The Washington Post on On. Nov. 6 reported that the Washington State Republican Party sent voters fliers depicting congressional candidate Kim Schrier with a wad of cash in her hand.
In Alaska, Republican Women of Juneau ran an ad targeting state senator Jesse Kiehl, showing a man sticking a wad of cash into his inner jacket pocket.
In North Carolina, the state Republican Party ran an online ad denouncing what it called the Democrats’ radical agenda It featured Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate minority leader, clutching a wad of cash. Neither Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 presidential nominee, nor Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., are shown with cash.
The Juneau Republican group did not return calls from the Post seeking comment. The Washington and North Carolina state parties denied anti-Semitic intent, but did not say whether they had run similar ads against non-Jewish candidates.
In Pennsylvania, State Rep. Todd Stephens ran a TV ad featuring challenger Sara Johnson Rothman clutching a wad of cash. Rothman’s husband is Jewish. The illustration dropped her maiden name, Johnson, although she routinely uses it.
Additionally, a Stephens mailer depicts a woman receiving a wad of cash from a donor. Johnson Rothman serves on the Upper Dublin school board in suburban Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Stephens as denying anti-Semitic intent. It quoted a spokeswoman for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia as saying that she did not perceive anti-Semitism but also quoted the president of the city’s Board of Rabbis as saying the ad was “disturbing” and used, inadvertently or not, anti-Semitic tropes.
Ed Charamut, a Republican running for Connecticut State Senate, sent out a mailer showing his opponent, Democratic State Rep. Matt Lesser, grinning while clutching a handful of $100 bills. The mailer went out on Oct. 30, three days after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 people dead.
Lesser told the Hartford Courant that people called him about receiving “an anti-Semitic flier.”
“I thought there was a mistake,” he told the Courant. “Someone showed it to me and I think it would be a gross understatement to say I was surprised.”
Charamut at first denied that the flier was anti-Semitic. But three days later, his campaign posted an apology on Facebook.
“The entire campaign committee, which includes members of the Jewish community, never discussed or considered Mr. Lesser’s ethnicity, race, religion or any other personal characteristic of Mr. Lesser and it was never our intention for the mailer to be anything more than a reflection of Mr. Lesser’s policy record,” the post read. “However, it is clear now that the imagery could be interpreted as anti-Semitic, and for that we deeply apologize as hate speech of any kind does not belong in our society and especially not in our politics.”
In California, Tyler Diep, a Republican running for State Assembly, sent out a mailer showing his Jewish challenger, Josh Lowenthal, grinning while clutching a handful of $100 bills. The flier went out on Sunday. Nine Jewish Democratic lawmakers in the State Assembly sent a letter in protest, saying the image reflected “anti-Semitic tropes.”
“At best, this attack ad reflects an extreme lack of sensitivity,” the letter said. “At worst, it’s bigoted and anti-Semitic. Either way, the mailer is offensive and raises serious questions about Tyler Diep’s fitness to serve in the Legislature.”
Diep’s campaign denied that the image was anti-Semitic, invoking Diep’s own ethnic heritage.
“Tyler is Vietnamese and fled Communist persecution — he is highly sensitive to attempts at exploiting stereotypes to score political points,” the campaign’s statement said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 2018 campaign ended with a flurry of other ads and messages that drew criticism for playing on implicit or explicit anti-Semitism. Some of them were issued after the recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jews were killed during prayer, which led to a national outpouring of support for Jewish people.
A Green Party congressional candidate in the Cincinnati area started running a radio ad blaming “anti-American Communist Jews like George Soros” for fixing elections. The candidate, Jim Condit, Jr., is facing a Republican incumbent, and is not supported by his own party.
“These massive Trump crowds are the real polls,” the ad says. “Not the fake lying polls put out by the big TV networks all controlled by billionaire Communist Jews. These same anti-American Communist Jews like George Soros also direct the three computer election vendors, which have connived their way into counting 95 percent plus of our votes on their secret computer programs, with no effective checks and balances… They fix close elections if they think they can get away with it.”
The manager for the two radio stations running the ad told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he is legally obligated to run campaign ads, even if they have racist or anti-Semitic content.
Condit has previously railed against Zionist control of world politics and claimed that Jews had a role in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The Republican party has also put out a number of ads singling out Soros, a leading liberal donor, that do not mention his religion. In one, he is shown alongside a pile of money. Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, denies that the ads are anti-Semitic.
A robocall sent to Georgia voters on Friday, impersonating Oprah Winfrey, featured what the Washington Post called “60 seconds of racism,” and anti-Semitism. The robocall was an attack on Democrat Stacey Abrams, a black woman, who is vying with Republican Brian Kemp, who supports President Donald Trump, for Georgia governor.
“This is the magical negro, Oprah Winfrey, asking you to make my fellow negress, Stacey Abrams, the governor of Georgia,” the robocall said. “Years ago, the Jews who own the American media saw something in me: the ability to trick dumb, white women into thinking I was like them and to do, read and think what I told them to.”
The robocall was produced by TheRoadToPower.com, an anti-Semitic video site that’s targeted divisive political campaigns, according to the Post.