Benny Polatseck and Yossi Gestetner, producers of ‘The Jew In Rockland’ claim that free speech on a Facebook page is what Der Stürmer practiced in its propaganda for the National Socialist (Nazi) Party. The Chairman of the County Legislature, Alden Wolfe, seems to agree with them.
In his latest ‘County Executive’s Corner’, Ed Day wrote: I remain deeply troubled by a video released last week on behalf of a largely-unknown group of desperate provocateurs who call themselves OJPAC. The video titled “The Jew in Rockland” compares a range of issues in Rockland County to conditions faced by Jews the 1930’s that led to the Holocaust. Within minutes of the offensive production landing on YouTube, I released a statement condemning its creators, deeming their message “outrageous rhetoric that can only divide Rockland County. The vast majority of our residents are people of good conscience who recognize the damage inflicted by the release of the controversial video. This type of religiously charged propaganda only serves to erode the pride in our county we’ve worked so hard to achieve. As your county executive, I will not allow the misguided voices of a few to drown out the deeper sense of community that drives us toward trust, openness and cultural humility.
The two “desperate provocateurs who call themselves OJPAC” have now posted the image shown above which includes images from the Facebook page ‘Clarkstown: What They Don’t Want You To Know’ and the FaceBook page ‘Block the Block Vote’.
Above the image they write as follows:
The cover of “Der Stürmer” (the German weekly in the 1920’s and 1930’s) had a strip at the bottom of every edition which read, “The Jews are our misfortune.” The idea was to tell Germans every time they saw the paper that whatever is wrong in Germany, it is the Jew’s fault; they are the misfortune of all Germans.
The Calvin College explains the early days of Der Stürmer: “Most of the scandal at first was political, [Nuremberg] Mayor Luppe and his administration were accused of every manner of abuse of power. If there were problems with Nuremberg housing, it was the fault of Nuremberg Jewry. If there was unemployment, Jews were to blame.”
80 years later and the Facebook Page “Block The Block Vote” (BTBV) runs on the same theme: Whatever is wrong in Rockland County, NY is the fault of the Jew, and whatever the Jew does – whether in Monroe and Bloominburg New York, Israel or England – is wrong.
Following the release two weeks ago of the OJPAC video “The Jew in Rockland”, the BTBV Facebook page removed its Profile/Background photo of NY Governor Cuomo seen with Hasidic Jews. The photo graced that Facebook page for the past 8 months, and in a recent post the page moderator calls it the “Cuomo with the Looters” photo. The page moderator also changed its once-hateful “About” and “Description” sections which openly targeted Orthodox Jews; blocked some users, and claims to remove certain hate comments. These steps are a welcome result of the video calling out the shameless hate, but all posts on that page still run on the old theme: Whatever is wrong in Rockland County, NY is the fault of the Jew and whatever the Jew does – even outside Rockland – is wrong. You would be hard-pressed to find a post on that page not (Orthodox) Jew related.
BTBV is of the most followed Facebook pages with an “official” focus on Rockland County, NY. News Editors and public officials too cowardice to name that page for what it is – a hate page – share the blame for the rise of hate against Orthodox Jews; just as those who looked the other way when Der Stürmer propagated hate (in the decade before the Nazis came to power) share at least morally the blame of that hate.
Running a Facebook page is as that Page Moderator claims “free speech” and a “political effort”, but Der Stürmer was also an exercise of free speech and the National Socialist (Nazi) Party was for most of its existence also a political effort. If your only way of talking about Rockland County problems is aiming all your posts at the Orthodox Jews who are only 15% of the County and/or focusing on the Jews outside of Rockland, then your page is a place for hate and should be deleted from existence.
As for the point that some readers of BTBV are Jewish, Colvin College notes, “Ironically, many early Stürmer readers seem to have been Jewish.”
While we welcome Polatseck’s and Gestetner’s right to free speech which shows us how these two “provocateurs” think and act, apparently they don’t grant that same right to others. According to the Journal News the Democratic Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature, Alden Wolfe, instead of denouncing ‘The Jew In Rockland’ is “questioning whether James Foley’s role as administrator of the “Block the Block Vote” Facebook page “comes into conflict with his job as a social worker for the county’s Mental Health Department”.
Wolfe, who formerly became an expert on extinguishing Brega Bus fires, now has become an expert on mental health issues. He went on to say: “It’s clear from the content of the page that he has some measure of hostility toward the Orthodox community in Rockland County,” Wolfe said. “I question whether he’s able to provide objective service to members of this community who he might encounter in his daily work.”
The victim of a vicious attack on his free speech, Jim Foley, by those who have compared Rockland County with Nazi Germany, namely Yossi Gestetner and Benny Polatseck, has now apparently been attacked by the Democratic Chairman of the County Legislature who has joined the Democratic Majority Leader, Legislator Aron Wieder in not denouncing the use of Nazi imagery against Rocklanders. Chairman Wolfe would apparently prefer a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the county for a witch hunt against a county employee’s job.
Trying to avoid his own responsibly in not denouncing ‘The Jew In Rockland Video’ Wolfe said he “expects County Executive Ed Day to take appropriate steps to make sure county employees are performing their duties properly.”
County Executive Day was the first to denounce the video and his spokesman Scott Salotto said: “Civil service law prohibits the county from limiting its employees’ speech outside of working hours unless it “substantially interferes with the operation of government or delivery of services. That hasn’t been determined in this case here,” Salotto said. “If somebody is doing this during work hours, that’s problematic. If it’s done outside of the work hours, … you can maintain blogs, or you can maintain Facebook pages related to your hobbies or political affiliation. … It has nothing to do with your government position.”
Clearly Chairman Wolfe does not realize that Facebook page editors pre-schedule posts and anyone given editorial privileges to a Facebook page can post comments on behalf of the page as happens with both of the Facebook pages mentioned above.
Oh well, there is an election coming in November and those who seem not to understand that in the United States free speech is exactly that – free to ‘Block the Block Vote’, free to ‘Clarkstown: What They Don’t Want You To Know’ AND free to the ‘provocateurs’ Benny Polatseck and Yossi Gestetner as representatives of the Hasidic community who wish to compare living in Rockland County to living in pre-war Nazi Germany.
It would all be simply amusing if it were not so pathetic. As for Polatseck and Gestetner the Italians might say: “Non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa”.