Political blowback, accusations, and blame continue since the astonishing results of the November Clarkstown elections. Many underdog candidates that originally were given no “realistic chance” of winning office have recently been sworn into their newly elected positions. Much of their success was derived from the Preserve Rockland-endorsed ‘Reform Party’ line and to those who actively exposed the behaviors of the former entrenched interests on social media.
Since the past election a few local disgruntled, flabbergasted and dumbfounded agitators have considerably ramped up their hostile rhetoric of anti-Semitism in an attempt to cast aspersions upon the new political arrangement that is no longer controlled by their former preferred leaders and their ‘smoke-filled room’ associates. We will not indulge these individuals by identifying them by name or by repeating their rants and accusations. However, we would like to point out a couple of quotes made in response to some of their comments online from highly influential members of the Clarkstown/Rockland Democratic party. We believe that what these members have said on social media websites might offer insight into a potential fracture within the Democratic party on the tactic of using claims of widespread anti-Semitism in Rockland as a political tool of first choice.
We note that on December 24, 2015, Democratic Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski denounced this ‘everything-is-antiSemitic’ tactic during a radio interview when he stated: “The accusations of hate and anti-Semitism are so concerning because THAT’S (i.e. the false anti-Semitic accusations) exactly what is going to raise the level of strife here in the community.”
The editors strongly agree with Assemblyman Zebrowski’s assessment. We have previously echoed other of his sentiments and continue to do so today. We clearly recognize that there is some anti-Semitism in Rockland, just as surely as there are pockets of racism and anti-Semitism found in all walks of life and in all counties of the United States. However, those who mislead readers with a false cry of anti-Semitism often become the ones that end up inciting it; these individuals then use the delusional examples they helped to elicit from a few vocal bigots as evidence to support their claims of a widespread problem.
No one with a modicum of intelligence believes anti-Semitism should not be called out whenever and wherever it rears its dimwitted head. Further, it should never be used as a tool in anyone’s political playbook to distract from the real issues at hand. Assemblyman Zebrowski clearly understands that truth and has had the political principle and courage to articulate this position on many occasions.
In sharp contrast, we now turn to a comment from an equally prominent leader of the Democratic Party which we believe feeds the flames of anti-Semitism in the way that Assemblyman Zebrowski has denounced. The comment to which we refer was made on Facebook by Rockland County Democratic Chairwoman Kristen Stavisky, and although the post was removed shortly after Ms. Stavisky’s comment appeared, it bears critique as representative of a position which we decry.
On January 7th, less than two weeks after Assemblyman Zebrowski’s poignantly stated opinion referenced above, Chairwoman Stavisky went online to write the following comment to a post that alleged anti-Semitism was largely responsible for the political movement in Rockland County that elected a local government promising reform:
“Hate and ignorance cannot be tolerated. No religion, ethnicity, neighborhood etc is immune to wrongdoing and evil. We cannot judge and condemn with a broad brush. When will we realize we are all human beings? It is disheartening for me to see the breakdown of a county I was born in and have lived my entire life. It cannot be us vs. them. We must find a way to start a dialogue. We must recognize that one can be against what is happening in East Ramapo AND against the vile, anti-Semitism that is raging online and in the county. Thank you for posting this.”
We certainly agree with Ms. Stavisky’s desire to eliminate hate and ignorance and agree people should be judged based on their actions and character and not on the basis of race, gender, color, or religion. However, we also believe that seeking to hide behind any one of those factors to avoid accepting responsibility for one’s own actions is also wrong. We believe one of the main reasons that the Rockland Democratic Party took such a beating in the past election was because its leadership remained silent while a select few of its elected officials continued to work only for their own special interests and ignored the greater good of the overall community.
Analysis of the votes cast in the past November’s elections clearly show that many rank and file registered Democrats abandoned their party’s silent, appeasement line and voted against the status quo. Our question now is this: When will the local Democratic Party’s committee people rise up and speak? When will they recognize that catering to the needs of one specific group is an unsustainable strategy if fair and equitable treatment for all and preference for none is to be achieved? We suggest that denouncing the actions of the former Legislative Democratic Majority Leader Aron ‘Mighty Mouse’ Wieder’s opposition to the East Ramapo school monitor would be a good place to start.
In our opinion Legislator Wieder is currently gearing up for another Albany campaign to deprive the children of ERSD the fair and proper education that they are entitled to by law. In our view, his preferred tactic of political persuasion is to cry that this school crisis is largely about growing anti-Semitism in Rockland County. Rather than condemn his statements and distance the Democratic Party from his actions, the Party leadership allows him free reign to behave as he pleases. Has any member of the Democratic Party’s leadership team watched his behavior as revealed on YouTube when he was an ERSD board member? We believe his actions as a board member were deplorable; that is a statement of our opinion of his actions, not of his religious beliefs.
A welcome discussion for Chairwoman Stavisky to lead might begin if she would issue a statement of condemnation about Legislator Wieder’s actions against an East Ramapo school monitor with veto powers. She might also issue a statement of condemnation about the policies of her Democratic colleague in Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. Under the banner of Democratic principles, St. Lawrence has systematically engineered a massive urbanization of the Town of Ramapo.
Yet, the Rockland Democratic Party under Stavisky’s leadership takes almost no action against him either in word or deed. At the very least Ms. Stavisky, instead of talking about “vile anti-Semitism raging on-line and in the county“, should be taking every possible opportunity to state that her party is horrified that its good name has been hijacked in the Town of Ramapo and that Supervisor St. Lawrence and his cronies do not reflect the values of the Democratic Party.
Finally, Chairwoman Stavisky, by putting her antagonistic comment online and into the public domain, has effectively given Mr. Wieder his first quote for his upcoming anti-monitor campaign. Rest assured that he will be quoting her written public sentiments to all of the Albany officials who will be voting on whether to allow a veto-empowered monitor. In effect, she has handed Mr. Wieder the credence of her title and position to support his case in Albany that Rockland is not populated by citizens concerned about equal educational opportunities for all students but is populated by “vile anti-Semities” causing a breakdown of the social fabric in Rockland.
Can this really be the official position of the Rockland Democratic Party? Is anti-Semitism truly raging in the county as Ms. Stavisky claims? We don’t believe the answer to either question is in the affirmative. We suggest that Ms. Stavisky begin to ask members of her own party if they agree with her sentiments before she makes any further demeaning, untruthful and idiotic remarks about the good and decent people of Rockland County.