A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio is facing allegations he ran an anti-Semitic ad that accused his Jewish opponent of faking “Christian values” to win the votes of evangelicals.
In the ad, the narrator asks: “Are we seriously supposed to believe the most Christian values Senate candidate is Jewish?”
On Thursday, IT entrepreneur Mark Pukita, one of 11 candidates in the crowded Ohio Republican primary, defended the campaign commercial at a candidate forum hosted by the Ohio Press Network at North Columbus Baptist Church, the Daily Mail reported.
When asked to respond to accusations that the ad targeting frontrunner former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was anti-Semitic, Pukita said: “In terms of anti-Semitism, all I did in an ad was pointed out that Josh is going around saying he's got the Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other. But he's Jewish. 'Everybody should know that though, right?”
Candidate Bernie Moreno, who spoke next, attacked Pukita’s statement.
“Josh, nobody should question your faith. That's not right,' Moreno said. “The Jewish religion, the Bible is the Bible. That was hard to hear. I'm sorry about that. That's not right. We're better than that, guys.”
After the ad led to claims of anti-Semitism, Pukita was told he was not welcome at a forum hosted by the Center for Christian Virtue, according to Politico.
The Pukita campaign defended the candidate and his criticism of Mandel, stating he was not an anti-Semite.
“Mark Pukita is absolutely, unequivocally, undeniably a complete supporter of religious tolerance and of Israel,' said campaign spokesperson Robert Gray in a statement.
Gray added: “He is not a supporter of phonies and panderers.”
Pukita also defended himself in a Twitter post.
“I’m anti-façade, not anti-Semitic. Josh is a complete façade. A caricature. An actor,” he wrote. “He's going to evangelical churches, talking about making decisions with the Constitution in one hand, the Bible in the other. That's not something to question?”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)