Can you imagine Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar representing Midwood? What would your reaction be hearing your Congresswoman say she gets a “calming feeling” when pondering the Holocaust? How would we protest if our own lawmaker would reduce all support for Israel down to a few “Benjamins”?
We, the Orthodox community of Flatbush have worked too hard and come too far to allow this to happen. But the very real possibility exists that within 36 hours of reading this, a person who likely shares similar opinions of Omar and Tlaib could be representing thousands of frum families in the New York City Council.
Monique Chandler-Waterman is currently ahead in the contest to be the district’s next councilwoman. She reached this by campaigning on a platform of anti-Semitic codewords, and by holding rallies in which she and her surrogates use dog whistles to dismiss our community without ever saying “Jew.”
First, the backstory.
Jumaane Williams represented the 45th Council district for about ten years when he won the race earlier this year to be the city’s public advocate. Mayor Bill de Blasio then called a special election to replace him, and the community entered in an historic partnership with the district’s Haitian and Caribbean communities to back Farah Louis in last month’s election.
Jumaane originally told friends and associates that he would stay out of the race. At the last minute, he reneged and backed Monique while the district’s Haitian, Caribbean and Orthodox communities united in support of Farah Louis. A large reason Orthodox Jews backed Louis was because many felt poorly served and ignored by Jumaane for years. Community members were looking for the candidate who offered to represent all parts of the district and not just some of it. Farah Louis was ultimately successful and won the special election.
But a fluke in the city’s campaign schedule means that the victory is only for a few months. Now a little over a month after that election, another contest is taking place tomorrow to hold the seat for the full four years.
Monique Watterman announced immediately that she would run again. She then embarked on an ugly, divisive campaign, painting Orthodox Jews in dark and menacing colors, describing them as interlopers from the “outside” who “bought” Farah.
WATCH THIS SHOCKING VIDEO BELOW:
“In the special election last month,” one ad says, “Trump-voting Republicans (the word is ominously italicized) got to decide who represents us (also italicized) in the City Council.”
Other ads and videos describe our community as “slumlords” and “real estate developers.” In the African-American district, these terms are common anti-Semitic slurs. There is no debating this – Monique is using gutter language to get elected, and Jumaane is going on his worst instincts to preserve his political legacy. And we, the Jews, are the victims of this. We say STOP. Stop the divisiveness. Stop making Jews the cause of all your troubles. We have seen too much of this in recent history to allow this to go without a response. We reject such divisive language and will never vote for anyone who uses it.
Vote for Farah Louis tomorrow. Our future depends on it.
Charley Briedel – A resident of the 45 council district.
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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