Haber slams social media advertisement as anti-Semitic

The Island Now

State Senate candidate Adam Haber on Monday called for his opponent, Elaine Phillips, and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee to denounce an online advertisement attacking his Jewish heritage.
The image, which was published by the Facebook and Instagram pages of “The Real Adam Haber,” places Haber’s face on the body of a character from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“I’m sad that in this day and age during the High Holy Holidays of Jewish faith, that I must stand here because of such hateful, anti-Semitic attacks on myself, my faith and my candidacy for Senate,” Haber said at a news conference outside the Nassau County Supreme Court building. “I sincerely hope that my opponent will denounce this imagery and the insinuations and the language used and that this ad will be removed so that no others in the community will be forced to face such offensive imagery and rhetoric.”
He said his face was angled to make his nose appear bigger, the shadowing on his head was edited to make it seem like he is wearing a yarmulke, and a tallis, a garment worn by religious Jews, is underneath the “fiddler” outfit.
The advertisement also uses a Newsday headline that reads “EDITORIAL: DON’T FIDDLE WITH NEW YORK’S PROPERTY-TAX CAP” and a header next to Haber’s face that reads “ADAM HABER: TAX CAP FIDDLER.”
“The whole story of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is about in 1905 how there were pogroms to push Jews out of Russia for religious persecution and that image really comes from the fiddler really playing for his supper,” Haber said. “Using that image interspersed with a cut and paste headline from Newsday about money is just offensive, especially with the background that I come from and the heritage of my family.”
“It’s the Jew and it’s the money and he’s going to play with your money,” he added. “That’s the message they are sending.”
A Phillips campaign spokesman, Chris McKenna, said the advertisement was not from her campaign.
“We’ve never seen it and don’t have anything to do with it,” McKenna said.
Efforts to reach the Senate Republican Campaign Committee for comment were unavailing.
Haber, a Democrat running in the 7th Senate District, was joined at his news conference by Assemblyman Charles Lavine, former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, Rabbi Jodie Siff of the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, of which he is a member, his wife, Renée, and other members of the community.
Lavine said Edward Cox, chairman of the New York Republican State Committee, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Phillips should denounce the “vicious campaign” and apologize to the public.
“In the context of a national political election in which misogyny, hate, racism and general hate for the outsider have become standard operating procedure,” he said, “it should come as no surprise that the Republicans who seek to win the state Senate seat that Adam is running for have resorted to the time-worn, ugly, ugly anti-Semitism that we all know too well.”
Ackerman said it was “discouraging” that there are people who are hired to do “this kind of dirty work.”
“I tend to think that people look at us all as individuals and base our support or lack of support for political candidates based on what a person can contribute to our community and our society,” he said. “It’s very disappointing to see that there are those who have nothing to offer to the public as far as arguments, programs, helpful suggestions, things about their record, other than looking at somebody and making note of his or her religion.”
The Republicans that he knows from the community, Ackerman said, would have nothing to do with such an advertisement.
“This is what a lot of our families have come to escape. This is how it begins,” he said. “With funny looking cartoons, making caricatures out of people, putting Adam’s face in a distorted way on a character that’s very evocative of somebody of a specific religion.”
Siff said she was “appalled” by the advertisement.
“As members of the voting public, I am disappointed and outraged at the way Adam’s opponents have defaced the political discourse with such vile imagery and characterizations,” she said.
The Nassau County Democratic chairman, Jay Jacobs, said he was concerned about   political tactics on Long Island.
“We have seen some nasty politics in the year of Donald Trump, and it’s concerning that these divisive and hateful tactics have found their way to our community,” Jacobs said. “Culturally insensitive imagery and language like this begs the following questions: Who are Adam Haber’s misguided opponents trying to appeal to? What, exactly are they trying to insinuate?   Everyone should be offended by this type of anti-Semitism and should denounce this brand of politics wholeheartedly.”
 The anonymous Facebook and Instagram accounts called “The Real Adam Haber”  target the candidate with criticisms of his record and background.

By Joe Nikic

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The Island Now

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