Facing an electoral revolt against establishment politicians, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign falsely accused his progressive political rival of anti-Semitism.
By Progress New York Staff
The state party apparatus overseen by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) mailed flyers to voters days before the September Democratic Primary, accusing his political rival, the activist-actress Cynthia Nixon, of being anti-Semitic, in part because she supposedly supported the Boycott Sanctions and Divestment movement against the State of Israel, a charge that was not substantiated. News of the deceptive and inflammatory campaign mailers spilled all over social media the day before the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year holiday.
The New York State Democratic Party committee, headed by Executive Director Geoff Berman, did not immediately answer a press inquiry, and neither did Lis Smith, a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo’s committee to reëlect.
When in desperation, Cuomo has resorted to homophobia to divide the electorate.
It is not uncommon for some politicians to invoke the support for the BDS campaign, whether true or untrue, against the State of Israel for its record of war crimes and crimes against humanity as the basis for a false charge of anti-Semitism. The move by the State Democratic Party committee to resort to false charges of anti-Semitism against Ms. Nixon also invoked recent and distant past uses of gay-baiting or homophobia whenever Cuomo campaigns have reacted in panic. Shortly after Ms. Nixon announced her insurgent gubernatorial campaign, Christine Quinn, an apparatchik for Gov. Cuomo’s committee to reëlect, accused Ms. Nixon of being an “unqualified lesbian,” an odd choice of words that many viewed as a base attempt at dog whistle politics to turn bigots against Ms. Nixon. In 1982, when Gov. Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was being challenged by Ed Koch in the New York gubernatorial primary of that year then, the younger Mr. Cuomo reportedly resorted to the use of homophobic tactics to turn bigots against Mr. Koch. The same slogan had been unsuccessfully been used by the Cuomo camp against Mr. Koch in the 1977 New York City mayoral race, and some activists believe that the anti-Semitic accusation may similarly boomerang this year due to broad anti-establishment sentiment amongst the electorate.
Neoliberal leaders, such as Gov. Cuomo, are fighting for their political survival in the changing political landscape of 2018, with long-term Democratic Party incumbents, such as U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-NY 14) and Michael Capuano (D-MA 07), losing improbably primary campaigns ; former political powerhouses, such as Mayor Rahm Emanual (D-Chicago), deciding against seeking reëlection, ;and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12), reportedly negotiating the giving up of her leadership post. In New York, Gov. Cuomo is widely seen as responsible for keeping the State Republic Party in control of the New York State Senate, thereby blocking the passage of progressive legislation.
Because of his age, Gov. Cuomo has fallen into the trappings of biases and prejudices of his era. In the late 1980’s, a younger Gov. Cuomo advocated the building of a healthcare facility in The Bronx that would only provide care for people with AIDS in a time when people with HIV/AIDS were discriminated against by being provided with segregated care.
- Mailer from Cuomo-controlled state Democratic party hits Nixon on Jewish issues; draws outrage [The New York Daily News]
- EDITORIAL : Three decades later, “Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo” mailer resurfaces [Progress Queens]
- LETTER FROM NEW YORK : LGBT civil rights leader discusses BDS and false accusations of anti-Semitism [Progress Queens]