The Israel Heritage Foundation strongly condemns former Rep. Mondaire Jones for his social media post about former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives on October 3rd. Though Jones has since deleted his post and claims to regret it, the Israel Heritage Foundation denounces the seeming antisemitic and hurtful intent behind his original message.
Jones is the former Democratic New York congressman running for his old congressional seat against Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) in the lower Hudson Valley. The day after McCarthy’s ouster, he shared a post on X, previously known as Twitter, that included a photo of then candidate Lawler and McCarthy meeting with the Skverer Rebbe of New Square, NY and other Jewish leaders. Attached to the photo was the caption, “Well this was a waste of everyone’s time”.
New Square is part of the congressional district in Rockland County that came into play during the 2022 congressional election, and Jones’s insinuation was lost on no one. The implication of the caption and its accompanying picture seems to be an accusation against Republican candidates for meeting with religious leaders in the Jewish community.
Taken as they are, they reduce the relationship between elected officials and their constituents to the basest form of pandering and political pork. Worse, his words insinuate some sort of unholy and illicit alliance between politicians and Orthodox Jews.
Words have consequences. Such contentious words have the potential to threaten Jewish communities as antisemitism is spiking in New York and across the country. In addition, they disrespect the position of religious leaders and their standing within the communal structure of religious and political heads.
Rabbi David Twersky, the 82-year-old Chassidic leader in New Square, is renowned for giving advice to the multitudes who seek it and is revered among Jews and non-Jews alike. Somehow insinuating alleged malfeasance against politicians for meeting with Rabbi Twersky is an affront to this lofty religious leader and, by extension, to leaders of all religious groups.
Rabbi David Katz, Executive Director of the Israel Heritage Foundation, denounces such rhetoric. “If we lose respect for our religious leaders, especially for the likes of the grand rabbi of a large religious community, then we diminish respect for society at large. Rabbi Twersky always has his door open to everyone – Democrat or Republican. He has always been bipartisan. Rabbi Twersky helps anyone who comes to him with a problem and disrespecting him disparages the office of religious leadership. We need to respect our religious leaders.”
We are thankful that the former congressman retracted his divisive words. We hope that going forward Jones will be mindful of the import words can have in today’s world of social media and the world at large.