California lawmaker apologizes to Jews for campaign mailers

Republican state assemblyman meets with Jewish leaders, issues apology for campaign ad which portrayed Jewish opponent hoarding money.

Tags: California
David Rosenberg ,

Orange County
Orange County

A California state assemblyman has apologized for a campaign mailer some said used anti-Semitic motifs in an election against a Jewish opponent.

Thirty-six-year-old Republican Tyler Diep, a Vietnamese-born immigrant living in Orange County, defeated Democrat Josh Lowenthal 52% to 48% last November for the state assembly’s 72nd district.

Prior to the election last year, Diep’s campaign sent out mailers attacking Lowenthal, showing the hoarding cash while accusing him of “recklessly cut[ting] corners” and “putting customers and employees at risk”.

Critics accused the ad of playing on anti-Semitic stereotypes, and claimed the Diep campaign had doctored the photo of Lowenthal, enlarging the Jewish candidate’s nose in the picture.

While the Diep campaign denied having changed the photo of Lowenthal to exaggerate the size of his nose, on Tuesday, Diep issued an apology for failing to “recognize the sensitivity” of the issue of anti-Semitism.

Diep denied that the advertisement had intended to convey anti-Semitic stereotypes, but after meeting with Jewish leaders last Friday, Diep acknowledged that his campaign had “failed to recognize” how the mailer might be interpreted.

“I want to take this opportunity to publicly share my sincere apology to anyone in the Jewish community who was offended by my campaign during the 2018 election,” Diep said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“There is no place for anti-Semitism in our society, and while my campaign had no intention of doing so, we failed to recognize the sensitivity of the problem. I now have a greater understanding for the seriousness of anti-Semitic sentiments.”

On Wednesday, Lowenthal said the “acknowledgement was a long time coming.”

“Ideally he’s learned from this and can be an example of humility and compassion going forward.”