By Cindy Grosz
I hate to say it, but it was just a matter of time until antisemitism on social media erupted into violence.
Since August, I have been reporting about the social media antisemitism surrounding the Vickie Paladino for State Senate campaign in New York.
Her campaign manager son, Tommy Paladino Jr., is an active member of the social media group Gab, as reported by the largest Queens newspaper.
Outlets such as The Gothamist, Politico and The Empire Report have researched and reported on the anti-Israel posts from several members of the Vickie Paladino inner circle of volunteers and campaign advisors.
Gab is the same social media outlet where Robert Bowers, the shooter at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania wrote about his hatred of Jews. It is known as an alt-right, white supremacist free speech social media outlet.
Cesar Sayoc, the Floridian arrested for masterminding the pipe bombs mailed to Democrats, used social media daily to spur his hate of Jews, Blacks and gays.
Paladino and her supporters have made fun of Jewish noses, called Hitler a “Great Man,” blamed Jews for 9/11 and for killing ‘innocent’ Hamas terrorists. In fact, up to this very day, they continue. They maligned me, Joann Ariola, the Queens GOP chair, and Thomas Long, Queens Conservative chair.
Paladino threatened to “go after Ariola’s and Councilman Eric Ulrich’s throats.” The two could have had her arrested, instead they chose to take the high road. Her son Thomas stalked me at a public event, to the point that I had to call security.
Journalist Jake Offenfartz reported in The Gothamist how Paladino courts Proud Boys and Neo-Nazis. I learned new facts and was vindicated from false attacks from her few campaign advisors. How did Paladino react? She attacked me publicly and her supporters posted personal information about the journalist on Facebook. They posted pictures of his parents and called them “swingers and gross old hippies.” Very “Proud Boy” behavior, very unprofessional, and very definitely not how you address your adversaries on the floor of the State Senate chambers in Albany.
Rory Lancman, running for Queens District Attorney, called out Paladino for aligning herself with a group dabbling with white supremacism. “Another Republican has chosen to align herself with the Proud Boys and dabble in white supremacism, but this time she wants to be my state senator,” said Lancman. “No way and no how will voters in this state senate district legitimize the xenophobia that Republican nominee Vickie Paladino espouses by electing her as our senator. I call on her to immediately and unequivocally repudiate her expressions of support for the Proud Boys and Alt-Right bigotry, or withdraw her candidacy.”
To the credit of the Queens Conservative Party Chair, both Thomas Long and Queens County Republican Party activist Joann Ariola distanced themselves from Vickie Paladino after she first was interviewed for party endorsements last spring. Long won his court battle to ensure Paladino would not run on the Conservative Party Line. Paladino is running on the Republican line, sans the endorsement of the Queens County GOP.
Paladino has less than $5,000 in her campaign accounts according to published documentation from the Board of Elections, and only the support of the Queens Village Republican Club. Most feel that Democrat John Liu will easily win the seat.
Cindy Grosz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.