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The Republican candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) has been using images of terror and mass destruction to get his vote across to the Jewish population in the last couple of weeks, but he insists he is not using fear tactics.
Kew Gardens attorney Asher Taub went on the defensive Tuesday about a series of ads that have appeared in the 5 Towns Jewish Press that go after Meeks, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrats for being soft on terrorists and not having the country’s safety as their top priority. One of the ads featured an image of Osama bin Laden and another had an image of a nuclear mushroom cloud.
Taub, an Orthodox Jew, denied he was preying on voters’ fears — rather he said he was sending a message to the paper’s readers about information “they already knew about.”
“A mushroom cloud attracts attention up and makes them think. I don’t think people [in today’s] society are afraid [of] it,” he said.
A representative from Meeks’ office said they had seen the ads but would not comment on them.
In a half-page promotion that ran in the Sept. 24 issue, Taub makes a subtle reference to a New York Post article that reported the congressman had sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2006, scolding it for an intense airport security screening of Anwar Hajjaj. The Post reported that Hajjaj was an administrator of two nonprofits that have ties to Al Qaeda. The Republican candidate’s ad, however, never names the Post as its source of the information or cites Hajjaj.
The ad features an image of bin Laden and the message, “Gregory Meeks was so concerned about Muslim preachers who head terrorist charities that were being put through extra security at our airports that he personally interceded for them with the Bush White House. Do we really want this scandal-ridden, terrorist-loving congressman representing our interests?”
It ends with the message “A congressman who will represent your interests in Washington, not the terrorists,” with a note that it was paid by Taub for Congress.
Although he stood by his belief that Meeks’ ties make him a bad leader, the candidate said the ad was rushed and should have contained a clear citation to the Post article.
“I gave it a full look through, but when you do 100 things at one time, sometimes things slip through,” he said of the Sept. 24 ad.
In the Sept. 17 issue, Taub ran an image of a mushroom cloud juxtaposed with the message, “On Yom Kippur as each Jew in Klal Yisroel davens for the safety of Eretz Yisroel, this horrible scenario will play out in our heads.” The ad claims President Barack Obama and the Democrats are not being tough enough on Iran and ends with the statement, “Will Gregory Meeks and the Black Caucus be able or bother to do that? You have the power to stop this nightmare.”
The attorney said he had no regrets about running this ad because the Orthodox Jews in the area are concerned and well-informed about issues in the Middle East.
“In the paper that ran, I don’t think the targeted audience would feel fear. I think it just wakes you up,” Taub said.
Larry Gordon, editor and publisher of the 5 Towns Jewish Times, which is available to Queens readers, also backed up Taub’s sentiment and said he did not have a problem running the ads in his paper.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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