The Rockland County Republican Party has removed a video from its Facebook page that warned Orthodox Jews are "plotting a takeover" of the community, following widespread backlash from state leaders.
The video, entitled "A Storm Is Brewing in Rockland," takes aim at the campaign of Aron Wieder, a Hasidic county legislator running for re-election in November. Over ominous chanting and pulsating drums, it claims that Wieder and his Ramapo bloc of supporters are coming for "our homes, our families, our schools, our communities, our way of life."
"If they win, we lose," the attack ad concludes. "Take back control."
In a statement released late Wednesday, Attorney General Letitia James condemned the "deeply disturbing" video, calling on the Rockland County GOP to immediately remove it.
"To clearly state that members of the Jewish community are a threat to families and our safety and that they must be stopped is despicable and completely unacceptable," she added. "Attacking those who are different than we are only breeds hate and makes us weaker. We must all stand together to denounce this hateful video.”
The video was removed from the party's Facebook page on Thursday morning. Hours later, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his own statement about the "disgusting" content. "While this video has since been removed, its impact will still be felt by the members of the Jewish community targeted by their own neighbors," the governor said.
"There is no excuse for anti-Semitism masquerading as concerns over zoning or development," he added.
Ramapo has been a flash point in the increasingly tense fight between proponents of single-family housing and Orthodox communities, which typically favor zoning changes that allow for greater density.
County Executive Ed Day, a frequent critic of Wieder, said in a statement that while "the content of the video is factual, the tone and undercurrent is unacceptable."
Rockland County Republican Chairman Lawrence Garvey also defended the video on Thursday, asserting that "anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic without any concern for facts or without any idea of the true issues at hand."
A spokesperson for the New York State Republican Party did not respond to Gothamist's inquiries.