Across America in 2020, the volatile mixture of politics and anti-Semitism has yet to go the way of the Dodo bird. My own state, Arizona, is no exception to the effects of that hate-filled ideology, as an attack on a local candidate shows (and I’ll get to the details on that in a moment).
You may have heard about the most recent example of this, out of New York state, though. Early Sunday morning, freelance journalist Trish Regan shared a story about New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing feud with the Orthodox Jewish community in his state, in the midst of overbearing, Wuhan coronavirus restrictions on where people can congregate, worship, and generally live their normal lives.
NY Gov. Cuomo:
"If You Take Away The Money From Orthodox Jewish Community… They Will Comply"https://t.co/FXZsl00WOU
— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) October 25, 2020
Sadly, it’s nothing new from Empire state chief executive Cuomo and his henchmen. As readers may be aware, it’s becoming something of a “pattern,” from locking up playgrounds in Hasidic neighborhoods with chains, to a recent, Governor’s office action that barred an Orthodox wedding from taking place as planned.
And this happened in NY over the weekend, as nationally-syndicated radio host and Fox News commentator Mark Levin shared this afternoon:
Jews attacked for supporting Trumphttps://t.co/DXg0TMa5qD
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) October 26, 2020
CBS NY reports Monday on a “Jews For Trump” event, in which participants in a car parade from Brooklyn to Manhattan Sunday, showing support for the president, were “greeted” with hurled eggs, rocks — and worse.
A caravan of Jewish supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with counter protesters Sunday in Times Square, leading to fights, objects being hurled at cars and several arrests.
With more than a week to go until Election Day, the group called “Jews for Trump” spent most of the day peacefully driving from Brooklyn to Manhattan rallying for the president. Things took a turn when the caravan made its way through Times Square.
Now, word comes from my part of the country that this hatred and sickness is evident here, too — and it’s rearing its ugly head in the middle of a state Senate campaign. Late last week, a campaign sign for Scottsdale, Arizona, small business owner and candidate for Legislative District 23, Seth Blattman, was defaced with Nazi imagery, including a slur, and a swastika carved into the forehead of his likeness on the sign.
Blattman is Jewish. He also happens to be a Democrat.
For him, seeing that symbol of violence on his face was painful.
“I had a great aunt that I remember as a kid asking what the number on her arm meant,” said Blattman.
At the time of Blattman’s interview, he hadn’t planned to file a police report. But as the Republic rightly reported, “vandalizing campaign signs is considered a crime in Arizona.” Part of the state of Arizona’s revised statutes on campaign signage, 16-1019.A, reads, in part: (emphasis added)
It is a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office or in support of or opposition to any ballot measure, question or issue or knowingly remove, alter or deface any political mailers, handouts, flyers or other printed materials of a candidate or in support of or opposition to any ballot measure, question or issue that are delivered by hand to a residence for the period commencing forty-five days before a primary election and ending seven days after the general election, except that for a sign for a candidate in a primary election who does not advance to the general election, the period ends seven days after the primary election.
If convicted, a class 2 misdemeanor carries a sentence of four months in jail and up to $750 in fines.
Blattman posted an update about the incident for supporters on Twitter Saturday, and indicated that he would contact Scottsdale Police on Sunday:
My face is on the sign but I understand this is an attack on more than just myself. With that in mind I have a responsibility. The incident has been reported to the Anti-Defamation League, the Phoenix Holocaust Association, and tomorrow we will be contacting the Scottsdale Police pic.twitter.com/ZuZOpWdG5r
— Seth Blattman (@SethBlattman) October 25, 2020
My face is on the sign but I understand this is an attack on more than just myself. With that in mind I have a responsibility. The incident has been reported to the Anti-Defamation League, the Phoenix Holocaust Association, and tomorrow we will be contacting the Scottsdale Police
Then, after receiving overwhelming support, he added Sunday:
Thank you all so much for the incredible support. We must fight hate wherever we see it – at home or abroad.
This incident is an unfortunate sign of the times, but seeing our community come together to speak out against it has shown me that we’re better than this.
— Seth Blattman (@SethBlattman) October 25, 2020
Thank you all so much for the incredible support. We must fight hate wherever we see it – at home or abroad. This incident is an unfortunate sign of the times, but seeing our community come together to speak out against it has shown me that we’re better than this.
I wanted to emphasize that Blattman is a Democrat here, because this type of hatred is unacceptable, regardless of someone’s political persuasion. Anti-Semitism must be stamped out wherever it festers, oozing out of whatever dark crevice it was hiding in. Because this could be any one of us, Christian, gay, libertarian, black, disabled, purple—whatever.
As Blattman told KPHO/KTVT: “Someone that I have never met, never seen, hates me for a reason I can’t control because of who I was born to be.”