Yossi Gestetner, who just last week was hired by the New York Republican Party to be the Director of Jewish Outreach (as was reported here on YWN), took to twitter yesterday to announce he was resigning from his post.
“My appointment as Director of Jewish Outreach has been a distraction for the NYGOP. As such I am resigning my duties,” he wrote.
Yossi, an orthodox Jew who’s 27 years old and lives in Monsey, was lauded in a press release by the New York Republican Party upon his appointment last week, calling him a “resilient voice for Conservative values and Republican ideals,” and someone who “has illustrated his broad understanding and deep connection to members of the Jewish Community.”
At the time, analysts believed Gestetner was chosen by Ed Cox, the New York State GOP Chair, in an effort to help increase the support of the Republican Party in the Chasidish communities in NY, with-whom Gestetner has a close relationship. But somehow a week later, that very same resilience had turned into a distraction.
Last week, journalist Steven Weiss of The Jewish Channel started investigating Gestetner’s past, including his previous consulting work and his many blog and twitter posts. When he discovered that Gestetner had done consulting work for a group called, “True Torah Jews Against Zionism,” Weiss contacted Gestetner to set up an interview to find out if Gestetner was a true Zionist.
During the often tense interview, Gestetner refused to condemn the “True Torah Against Zionism” group, and instead argued that just because he did consulting work with the group it didn’t mean he agreed with all of there positions and statements. But when pressed by Weiss whether indeed he was a Zionist, Gestetner demurred saying, “I’m an American, I live in the United States, and I hope to see that people who live in Israel, such as my immediate family, that they are safe and sound.”
In the interview, Gestetner also seemed to claim that Orthodox Jews should support the Republican Party because they care more about the poor then the Democrats, and they’ll be willing to provide the many hand-outs that the Orthodox community has come to rely on.
Soon after the interview was conducted and other journalists were tipped of by Weiss as to what had transpired, Gestetner took to twitter to announce he was resigning from his position so as not to be a distraction to the GOP,
The Jewish Channel then took credit for his resignation, claiming that less than 30 minutes after GOP State Chairman Ed Cox found out about Weiss’s investigation of his new appointee, Gestetner had resigned.
But on a post on his blog, Gestetner strongly disagreed with Weiss’s claim that his resignation had anything to do with his interview. Instead he gave an entirely differnent explantion for his resignation.
Here’s what he wrote:
“A main reason behind this [his resignation] is simple: Dean Skelos, the Leader of the Republicans in the New York State Senate has an understanding with former NYC Democratic Councilman Simcha Felder that he, Skelos, will back Felder in the November elections for the “Super Jewish State Senate District” on the expense of David Storobin, a sitting Republican State Senator.”
But Weiss, The Jewish Channel’s managing editor, wouldn’t back down from his claim that Gestetner’s work for “True Torah Jews Against Zionism” was the most radioactive part of his past and led to his resignation.
“The idea that a major party political official would work against the idea of a Jewish state is something that strikes very close to home,” Weiss said.
On a new blog post today, Gestetner slammed Weiss for taking credit for his resignation.
“Mr. Weiss whose news reports have less views in a busy week than what my blog has on a slow day, is claiming credit for story that is bigger than him. My opinions and views about Israel is in line with huge majorities of Americans; Jewish and non-Jewish alike, and as far I am concerned the NYGOP did not have an issue with it,” he wrote.
Either way, Ed Cox is now looking to hire a new Director of Jewish Outreach for the GOP in NY. It will be interesting to see who he picks.
(Yechezkel Gordon- YWN)