It would be an understatement to say that we are uncomfortable with an advertisement run by a Republican congressional candidate in the 5 Towns Jewish Press attacking U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks.
In this ad, candidate Asher Taub uses pictures of Osama bin Laden and an atomic blast and calls Meeks “soft on terrorism.” In the headline, Taub, an Orthodox Jew, calls himself “a frum Republican,” using a Yiddish word meaning “pious” or “devout.”
In his loathsome ad, Taub claims President Barack Obama and the Democrats are not tough enough on Iran. He concludes: “Will Gregory Meeks and the Black Caucus be able or bother to do that? You have the power to stop this nightmare.”
Taub has every right to question Meeks and the Obama administration on Middle East policy and the response to terrorism. But there is a line that should not be crossed, especially by someone who wants to represent a large part of Queens and Long Island in the U.S. Congress. These areas have diverse populations and the congressman represents them all.
Taub defended his ad, saying, “A mushroom cloud attracts attention up and makes them think.”
It certainly made us think.
We know little about Taub. On the other hand, we know Meeks has represented the 6th Congressional District for 11 years and that he is a popular figure in Jamaica and surrounding areas of Queens. Taub’s ad is targeted at the Five Towns area of Nassau County, which has a large Orthodox Jewish population.
There is nothing wrong with a candidate targeting a specific community, but there is something wrong with an ad that is blatantly divisive and plays on people’s deepest fears. We should remind Taub that if he is elected, he will represent people of all faiths and no faith at all — not just the Orthodox Jews of Five Towns.
There is less than one month left before Election Day. We hope Taub and other candidates will use this time to focus on issues and avoid personal attacks, divisiveness and fear-mongering.