(JTA) — A new political advertisement for Jewish Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer uses Holocaust imagery to attack her Jewish opponent, Democrat Lois Frankel, and calls Frankel “meshuggah,” Hebrew for crazy.
The ad by Loomer, a right-wing provocateur known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, claims that Frankel is allied with the Black Lives Matter movement and attempts to link the vocal pro-Israel incumbent to a past platform from one Black Lives Matter coalition that accused Israel of genocide. The ad appears designed to play on fears that the Black Lives Matter movement will lead to anti-Semitism.
Loomer is challenging Frankel in a heavily Democratic South Florida district. Loomer, who calls herself an “investigative journalist,” has been banned from Facebook and Twitter for hate speech, and is also banned from the ride-share companies Uber and Lyft for anti-Muslim posts. President Donald Trump has endorsed Loomer in a district that includes Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Palm Beach home.
“Lois Frankel loves Black Lives Matter. That is Meshuggah,” begins the ad, which appears on the Loomer campaign website and YouTube. Later it calls Frankel “gornisht Lois,” using the Yiddish word for “nothing,” and says she “kneels to” a group that wants to end American foreign aid to Israel. The ad says Frankel is “incapable of protecting the Jewish community or Israel.”
In fact, the genocide accusation and call for ending aid came from the 2016 platform of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of organizations that aims to formulate policy for the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not representative of all of Black Lives Matter, which is a loose grassroots coalition, and does not speak for Black Lives Matter as a whole. Its 2020 platform does not mention Israel.
Frankel, who took office in 2013, has historically been a favorite of pro-Israel groups. In 2016, soon after the Movement for Black Lives published its anti-Israel platform, the prominent pro-Israel political action committee NORPAC called Frankel an “ardent supporter of Israel’s status in the international arena.” Mark Mellman, CEO of the Democratic Majority for Israel, which supports Frankel, said the Loomer ad was “wholly and completely dishonest” and called Frankel “a key advocate of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.” The Anti-Defamation League called the ad “disgusting” and called on Loomer to remove it.
In a statement in reply to the ADL, Loomer’s campaign said “we humbly suggest [the group] focuses its attention on anti-Semites in power,” naming Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has drawn criticism for invoking tropes about Jewish money and political influence.
Later in the ad, a narrator says of Frankel, “Maybe she thinks if she makes nice, they’ll be nice to Jews in the end,” adding “Sound familiar?” as images of a Nazi rally and Jewish concentration camp inmates flash across the screen.
The ad calls Loomer “a real mensch.”