Yossi Gestetner’s work as the New York State Republican Party’s outreach director for the ultra-Orthodox community has ended after eight days.
Gestetner, a Ramapo blogger and political commentator whose work includes representing Hasidic communities before the media, has gotten into a few squabbles through his blog Gestetner Updates.. He’s also drawn criticism for comments during a cable television interviews on Israel and his work for a group involved with an accused pedophile who is a rabbi in Brooklyn.
“Well, my appointment as Director of Jewish Outreach has been a distraction for the NYGOP,” Gestetner said in a statement. “As such I am resigning my duties.”
Gestetner offers his own explanation for his resignation at his website.
One squabble includes Gestetner’s comments about a recent rock-throwing incident in Spring Valley. A black 12-year-old boy throw a rock threw a school bus carrying children with the Satmar Hasidic sect. One 8-year-old boy on the bus suffered a fractured skull.
Gestetner, speaking for the Satmar school and the family, called the rock-throwing incident a hate crime, while others also called it racially motivated.
Gestetner also battled with Peggy Hatton, a public school parent in the East Ramapo School District. Their exchange of terse e-mails on the Internet involved Gestetner saying anti-Hasidic rhetoric resulting from school budget cuts and votes has riled up people against the religious community. Hatton, a Republican, pointed out several Gestetner comments against the public school parents, including referring to them as Hitlers.
Gestetner also came under criticism from the Shmarya Rosenberg of Failed Messiah
The two bloggers exchanged attacks. Gestetner had called Rosenberg a bigot for his harping criticism of ultra-Orthodox Jews who are accused of being pedophiles or charged with other crimes.
UPDATE: On Thursday, Gestetner sent the following e-mail to the Journal News:
“I like your report. Just have this in mind (fully on the record)
“1) My work surrounding the rock is fully Kosher. The NAACP’s Trartmon agreed with my line. Perhaps indirectly but he said what he said to the Journal News.
“2) I never called public school parents Hitlers. That Hitler Tweet was referring to the handful detractors of the community who smear and lie about Jews; suggest Jews live off of the backs of Gentiles (public school cuts to prove more for Jewish school); and then rile up neighbors to turn on Jews. This is First class Hitlerism. Having Arron Wieder arrested for trying to help Jewish Voters who were illegally obstructed from voting, is also typical Hitlerism: The Jew who comes to report a crime or defend a fellow Jew, deserves a slap across the face or to be arrested. I stand by that Tweet. Any of those detractors who are offended, should take their Anti-Semitism and hate some place else.”
Below is the original announcement from the Republican Party:
ALBANY…June 12, 2012 – Today, The New York Republican State Committee announced Yossi Gestetner as the Director of Jewish Outreach.
During the last seven years, Mr. Gestetner has been a resilient voice for Conservative values and Republican ideals.
Published and broadcast in a wide spectrum of Jewish media outlets, Yossi has illustrated his broad understanding and deep connection to members of the Jewish Community. For years, Yossi has worked with leaders and activists on a host of issues important to the Jewish Community and beyond.
The New York GOP looks forward to working closely with Yossi in creating a stronger New York for all.