The following is a direct transcription of an article I read today, written by Karen Keller, in amNew York. I may have gotten one or two details wrong, but I think I’ve captured the essence. -KP
With the city reeling from one of the most vicious hate crimes on Jews in recent memory, guv hopeful Carl Paladino yesterday said kids shouldn’t be taught that Judaism is OK.
“I don’t want [our children] brainwashed into thinking Judaism is an equally valid … option,” he said in a speech to gay leaders in Brooklyn.
The 64-year-old Republican also criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for taking “his two daughters to march in a Jewish parade.”
Cuomo’s campaign pounced quickly when hearing about the speech.
“Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning anti-semitism and a glaring disregard for basic equality,” wrote Josh Vlasto, a Cuomo campaign spokesman.
Newsday reported that early scripted comments in Paladino’s stump talk went even further, including the sentence: “There’s nothing to be proud of in being a filthy Jew.”
But Paladino’s campaign manager Michael Caputo denied the phrase “filthy Jew” was in the script.
The polarizing remarks come in the wake of a recent spate of high-profile anti-semitic incidents in the New York City area, including the violent torture of three men in the Bronx last weekend by gang members.
Caputo condemned the Bronx attack, saying “beating up anybody is against the law.” He defended Paladino’s remarks, pointing out that he also said in the speech, “I’m not anti-Jew. I believe in ‘live and let live.’”
A spokeswoman for a Jewish advocacy group in the city slammed Paladino’s comments.
“People are being told by … an elected official that Jewish people aren’t worthy of equality,” said Natasha Dillon, a founder of Israel Rising.
Meanwhile yesterday, an unnamed man said he was taunted for wearing a Twins shirt at Yankees Stadium by fans singing “Hava Nagila” with anti-semitic lyrics during Saturday’s game, Gothamist reported.
“The bottom line is we know (anti-semitic) violence is a result of a culture of violence which starts with relatively casual comments like, ‘That’s so Jewish,’” said Sharon Stapel, director of the city-based Anti-Violence Project.