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First Connecticut, now California

Second Republican ad depicts Jewish opponent clutching $$$

(JTA) – Jewish Democrats in the California legislature condemned the campaign of Republican Tyler Diep for campaign literature depicting his Jewish challenger Josh Lowenthal clutching dollar bills and pursuing a “quick buck.” The nine lawmakers said the image reflected “antisemitic tropes.”

“At best, this attack ad reflects an extreme lack of sensitivity. At worst, it’s bigoted and antisemitic. Either way, the mailer is offensive and raises serious questions about Tyler Diep’s fitness to serve in the Legislature,” their letter said.

As the Ledger went to press on Monday, Diep and Lowenthal were preparing to face each other on Tuesday for the open seat in the Orange County-based 72nd Assembly District.

The campaign literature shows Lowenthal clutching dollar bills and accuses him of cutting corners and putting customers and employees at risk “[j]ust so he could make a quick buck.”

It is reminiscent of the campaign flier recently distributed by Republican Connecticut state representative candidate Ed Charamut’s campaign, showing his Jewish Democratic opponent, Rep. Matthew Lesser, with a maniacal smile clutching $100 bills.

Charamut dismissed claims that the flier invoked antisemitic stereotypes.

“I reject hate speech in all its forms,” he told the Hartford Courant. “The mailer draws a stark contrast between myself and Matt Lesser. Do you want to protect your wallets, or do you want to make Matt Lesser your new state senator?”

The director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Connecticut office, Steve Ginsburg, said the flier suggested anti-Jewish imagery.

“We do know though the feelings that the flier is evoking – the juxtaposition of a Jewish candidate for office and money in this manner suggests an age-old antisemitic trope,” Ginsburg told the Courant.

The Irvine, California letter stated that, “In light of the recent events in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on Jews in United States history, and the defacement of a synagogue in Irvine, now more than ever it is paramount that we reject bigotry and antisemitic tropes and hold those candidates running to represent us to the highest ethical and moral standards.,” the letter signed by the Jewish lawmakers also said.

The ad also was condemned by the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.

“This is not a neutral district. Diep’s coded language is carefully calibrated to appeal to antisemites and racists in a last-ditch effort to save his campaign.”

The Diep campaign defended the ad in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Allegations to the contrary are despicable and incorrect,” the campaign said. “Tyler is Vietnamese and fled Communist persecution – he is highly sensitive to attempts at exploiting stereotypes to score political points.”

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