Nine Jewish California lawmakers, all Democrats, signed a letter Friday condemning Republican Tyler Diep’s campaign for releasing campaign literature depicting his opponent in the race for the Orange County-based 72nd Assembly District, Democrat Josh Lowenthal, in a fashion often seen in anti-Semitic fliers.
They join a number of rabbis, including Peter Levi, regional director of the Orange County chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, in criticizing the campaign handout, which shows Lowenthal clutching money while writing that he is out to “make a quick buck.”
“The images undoubtedly link him to the age-old, false and dangerous stereotype about Jews and money and Jews and greed,” Levi said.
Diep’s mailer is similar to one sent by Republican Connecticut state representative candidate Ed Charamut’s campaign — which shows his Jewish Democratic opponent, Rep. Matthew Lesser, “with a wide-eyed grin, clutching a wad of $100 bills,” according to CNN.
“We know the impact (these ads) have, particularly in the Jewish community,” Levi said.
“In this week when decent people throughout our nation are mourning the murders of Jews in their synagogue, a piece of campaign literature that depicts a Jewish candidate as an individual with a long nose and implying he is a habitual liar is utilizing historically anti-Semitic tropes,” said Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein in a statement released by a consultant for the Lowenthal campaign.
That statement also noted that Huntington Beach, in Orange County, is home to both the anti-Semitic “Rise Above Movement,” described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a racist, violent right-wing fight club” and the Institute for Historical Review, a prominent Holocaust denying organization.
It also comes as police investigate recent anti-Semitic vandalism at an Orange County synagogue.
“This is not a neutral district. Diep’s coded language is carefully calibrated to appeal to anti-Semites and racists in a last-ditch effort to save his campaign,” the Lowenthal campaign statement read.
The Diep campaign, in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, denied that the mailer was an anti-Semitic attack.
“Allegations to the contrary are despicable and incorrect. Tyler is Vietnamese and fled Communist persecution — he is highly sensitive to attempts at exploiting stereotypes to score political points,” the Diep campaign said.