(JTA) — Jewish Democrats in the California legislature condemned the campaign of Republican Tyler Diep for campaign literature depicting his Jewish challenger Josh Lowenthal clutching dollar bills and pursuing a “quick buck.”
The nine lawmakers said the image reflected “anti-Semitic tropes.”
“At best, this attack ad reflects an extreme lack of sensitivity. At worst, it’s bigoted and anti-Semitic. Either way, the mailer is offensive and raises serious questions about Tyler Diep’s fitness to serve in the Legislature,” their letter said.
Diep and Lowenthal will face each other Tuesday for the open seat in the Orange County-based 72nd Assembly District.
The campaign literature shows Lowenthal clutching dollar bills and accuses him of cutting corners and putting customers and employees at risk “[j]ust so he could make a quick buck.”
It is reminiscent of the campaign flier recently distributed by Republican Connecticut state representative candidate Ed Charamut’s campaign, showing his Jewish Democratic opponent, Rep. Matthew Lesser, with a maniacal smile clutching $100 bills.
“In light of the recent events in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on Jews in United States history, and the defacement of a synagogue in Irvine, now more than ever it is paramount that we reject bigotry and anti-Semitic tropes and hold those candidates running to represent us to the highest ethical and moral standards.,” the letter signed by the Jewish lawmakers also said.
The ad also was condemned by the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.
“This is not a neutral district. Diep’s coded language is carefully calibrated to appeal to anti-Semites and racists in a last-ditch effort to save his campaign,” the Lowenthal campaign said in a statement.
The Diep campaign defended the ad in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Allegations to the contrary are despicable and incorrect,” the campaign said. “Tyler is Vietnamese and fled Communist persecution — he is highly sensitive to attempts at exploiting stereotypes to score political points.”