It was no surprise that hours after Rockville Centre residents found horrific, hateful flyers outside their homes, village and town officials arrived, denouncing the missives.
Friday, it was Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin, and town councilman Anthony D’Esposito. By Monday, as antisemitic leaflets spread to Long Beach and Oceanside, it was Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, with Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“We’re not going to tolerate hate. We’re not going to tolerate antisemitism,” Clavin said. “We are united in our outrage.”
“There is no place for hate in Nassau County,” Blakeman said.
Blasting antisemitism from a podium isn’t hard, whatever your political party.
And the abhorrent flyers deserved the blasts. Decorated with Jewish stars and Israeli flags, they featured awful, tired antisemitic tropes, describing “The Jew’s Plan for World Domination” and advertising a platform produced by the Goyim Defense League, a conspiracy theorist network featuring grotesque antisemitic postings and videos.
Friday, local officials stood next to a large poster board of one side of the flyer, headlined “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” a reference to a lie-filled publication that’s often used to blame Jews for the world’s problems.
But the flyer’s other side got little attention. It’s no wonder.
“Let’s Go Brandon,” the flyer screamed. “Every single aspect of the Biden administration is Jewish.”
A dozen names and photos followed, from Attorney General Merrick Garland to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Two individuals received an extra label in red lettering — “TRANSGENDER.”
This wasn’t just antisemitism. This was right-wing, politically motivated antisemitism, along with blatant transphobia. But local Republican leadership chose not to publicly acknowledge that part. They showed no poster board of the flyer’s “Let’s Go Brandon” side, made no condemnation of the ugly right-wing propaganda or the anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.
That, too, was unsurprising and speaks volumes.
Hempstead Town spokesman Greg Blower said the town created the display, adding that town officials “publicly and unequivocally condemned” the flyer “in its entirety,” and that the full flyer was distributed to reporters.
“Any other tortured interpretation of the unqualified condemnation that took place is the work of small-minded people with an unworthy political agenda,” Blower said.
Actually, it’s the Goyim Defense League that has the “unworthy political agenda,” even as Blakeman and D’Esposito discounted the vile display’s political connections.
“This is not about Republican, it’s not about Democrat,” said Blakeman, who noted that the flyer features “government officials,” but left out the political context.
But this clearly is about politics. The leaflets come after rallies in Rockville Centre by the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist hate group, and after the right-wing Long Island Loud Majority, with which Republicans including Blakeman have stood, targeted transgender bathrooms and Pride-related library books.
Condemning the hate, while important, means little without condemning specific haters — even if they’re your voters.
By ignoring the hatred’s right-wing foundations, Republican officials aren’t having an honest conversation about the origins of this antisemitism. Without a full-throated rejection of extremist voices, hate will continue to have a place in Nassau County.
COLUMNIST RANDI F. MARSHALL’S opinions are her own.