Politics in Pascrell v. Rothman spills into religion
By Max Pizarro | February 24th, 2012 - 2:18pm
| More

A commonly contentious issue continues to nag at Pascrell v. Rothman: religion.

Someone in the audience of an African American ministers’ forum Thursday night asked U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) why he is telling people in Passaic County’s Orthodox Jewish community to change their party affiliation to vote in the Democratic Primary. According to the Jewish Standard, 15 synagogue presidents endorsed Rothman in a letter that includes quotes praising the Bergen congressman’s support for Israel and for sanctions on Iran, and for disagreeing with President Barack Obama’s Israel policies.

“While we understand this choice may be difficult for you,” wrote the synagogue presidents, “please know that after the election you can immediately reverse your Party affiliation back to Republican or Independent; how you vote in the Primary in June does not in any way influence how you vote in November.” 

The letter prompted Arab American activist Aref Assaf to go on offense. 

“Unquestionably, this primary election is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities. To what extent the Muslim community will be energized by these developments will have to be determined,” wrote Assaf on NJ.com. 

But it was another Assaf statement that especially rankled the Rothman Camp. 

“As total and blind support for Israel becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s,” Assaf wrote. 

The Rothman Campaign called on Pascrell to distance himself from Assaf’s remarks, a demand that prompted Pascrell to dispatch former U.S. Rep. Herbert Klein, who said Assaf is not part of the campaign. 

But Assaf is on record as a $300 donor to Pascrell in 2004, in addition to being a vocal backer of the congressman’s. 

“Now one of his most prominent supporters is questioning Steve’s patriotism and loyalty to America,” said Rothman spokesman Paul Swibinski. “Pascrell could put a stop to this immediately but he chooses not to. He refuses to disavow these vile remarks and discourage his supporters from following this dark strategy. This campaign will be closely observed across the nation. Mr. Pascrell’s supporters should stick to the issues and leave religion out of it.”

The Back Room

Christie defends himself in NH

Zapped by the DNC on his way into New Hampshire this afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie defended his economic record while wooing NH voters for the second time in little more than a month, according to the Associated Press.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 1st

Christie makes his pitch on bail reform TRENTON -In a win-win moment for Gov. Chris Christie as he seeks tough guy points ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, both houses of the legislature packed into the assembly chamber and listened as Christie pleaded for a constitutional amendment on...

Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >

Contributors

(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Potentially, we can get this done, because it's important. We get it. We understand it. But there are issues. There's the speedy trial component. How are we going to pay for this? How is the risk-assessment piece of it going to be done?" - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), on bail reform.

- The Asbury Park Press

Poll

Who is a better GOP candidate for governor?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources