The New York State Democratic Committee is under fire from all sides after it sent out campaign literature implying that gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon is anti-Semitic.
“With anti-Semitism and bigotry on the rise, we can’t take a chance with inexperienced Cynthia Nixon,” reads the mailer, according to the New York Post. The mailer continues by claiming the former “Sex and the City” actress is against the funding of yeshivas and also falsely accuses her of being “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism” and of supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israrel.
The mailer, which was sent out just days before New York’s Democratic Primary on Sept. 13 and on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, was immediately met with widespread criticism.
Nixon accused her political rival, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, of approving the mailer and called it a “sickening” exploitation of people’s fear.
“The mailers that Governor Cuomo and the NY State Democratic Party have sent out are not only an attack on my family, but on all New Yorkers,” Nixon tweeted Sunday. “At a time when anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and other hate crimes are on the rise, it’s sickening to exploit people’s real fears like this.”
Cuomo’s campaign vigorously denied any involvement in the mailer and urged voters to focus on the primary race.
“Governor Cuomo didn’t approve of or have any knowledge of the mailer in question,” Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith tweeted on Saturday. “He disagrees with the language in it, believes it is inappropriate, and urges voters to focus on the real issues in this race.”
According to the New York Daily News, Cuomo added: "I have no authority in this situation.”
The New York State Democratic Party committee executive Geoff Berman hastily said that they would “work with the Nixon campaign to send out a mailing of their choosing to the same universe of people.”
“Let me be very clear: This mailer was a mistake and is inappropriate and is not the tone the Democratic Party should set,” Berman tweeted. “It will not happen again.”
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio wasn’t buying the apologies, calling them “laughable” and adding that the "state party must compensate the Nixon campaign immediately.”
“Democrats everywhere should unite behind the idea that state parties and the national party have no place in primaries,” De Blasio added. “When state parties put their fingers on the scales, it weakens the power of the people. The grassroots will lead us back to power — not party elites.”
Despite his rebuke of the mailer – and his strong ties to Nixon – De Blasio has so far refrained from making a formal endorsement in the New York gubernatorial race.
Nixon is not Jewish, but her two oldest children with ex-husband Dann Mozes have strong Jewish ties.
“Our children's grandparents escaped the Holocaust but many of their family members did not,” she tweeted. “The accusation that my family promotes anti-Semitism is deeply offensive. Democrats should be coming together, not engaging in Trump-style tactics.”
Nixon is also an active member of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, a LGBTQ synagogue in Manhattan.