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Rockland County GOP deletes ‘anti-Semitic’ video but doesn’t apologize after Cuomo slams it as 'disgusting’

2019-08-29

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed the Rockland County GOP's since-deleted video as "disgusting." (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rockland County’s Republican Party deleted a video from its Facebook page Thursday after Gov. Cuomo and other state elected officials slammed it as a “disgusting” display of anti-Semitism.

But the local GOP chapter did not apologize for the controversial video and instead appeared to double down on its fear-mongering message.

“Regardless of your thoughts of the video, there are facts that cannot be ignored,” Rockland County GOP chairman Lawrence Garvey said in a statement after taking down the video. “This is not, nor has it ever been a religious issue. It is an issue of right and wrong.”

The video, which popped up on the party’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, warned the local Hasidic Jewish community posed a “threat” to “our way of life."

It specifically took aim at Aron Wieder, a Jewish Democratic legislator in the area, who supports a zoning change that would allow for the development of some 200 new housing units in the county, which opponents say would unfairly favor the Hasidic community.

“If they win, we lose,” flashed across the screen near the end of the since-deleted video, which featured throbbing, ominous music and darkly-hued images of Wieder juxtaposed with pictures of happy, white families.

A screengrab from the video found on Rockland County GOP's Facebook page.
A screengrab from the video found on Rockland County GOP's Facebook page.

Gov. Cuomo issued a blistering statement shortly after the party took down the video Thursday afternoon, slamming it as “anti-Semitic” and “disgusting.”

“There is no excuse for anti-Semitism masquerading as concerns over zoning or development,” the governor said.

“While this video has since been removed, its impact will still be felt by the members of the Jewish community targeted by their own neighbors...Every single member of New York’s GOP must openly denounce this hateful rhetoric immediately and make clear that we will not tolerate this despicable behavior.”

In his statement, Garvey appeared to scoff at the accusation that the video was anti-Semitic.

“Anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption, or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic without any concern for facts or without any idea of the true issues at hand,” Garvey said.

Garvey did not return a request for comment on why the video was ultimately deleted.