Democrats have made accusations that Republicans tolerate and sometimes promote anti-Semitism within their ranks as a key office in the race.
Youngkin hugged Donald Trump before the primaries, but has tried to distance himself from the former president since he became the nominee. Trump remains popular with the Republican base, but is generally unpopular in Virginia. In one of the most notorious episodes of his presidency, Trump erred in condemning the deadly neo-Nazi march in the state, saying there were “very good people” on both sides of the day’s events.
In a statement, the Lincoln Project said the protest was intended to remind voters “of what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the acceptance of those values by the Republican Party and the fact that Glenn Youngkin did not condemn them.” .
Youngkin told a radio host Saturday that the stunt should backfire and that McAuliffe “owns this.”
“For someone to use white nationalism and racism as a campaign tactic is absolutely disgusting,” said Youngkin, who has said that as governor he would establish an “Advisory Commission on the Holocaust, Genocide, and Anti-Semitism” and seek passage of laws that support the Definition. of anti-Semitism of the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance.
Five protesters posed near a Youngkin bus at a campaign event in Charlottesville wearing khaki pants and white shirts typical of one of the white supremacist groups that joined the 2017 rally. They also carried tiki torches, which were carried by the 2017 protesters. , terrorizing Charlottesville residents the night before the rally.
Before the Lincoln Project released its statement, a photo of the protesters generated confusion on social media, with Republicans and Democrats accusing each other of inspiring or organizing the protest.
The protest has additional resonance now that a high-profile civil trial is underway in Charlottesville. Several of the victims of violence in 2017 are suing the groups and individuals who allegedly organized the demonstration.
Democrats have focused their allegations of Republican anti-Semitism in Northern Virginia, where there is a substantial Jewish population in the suburbs of Washington DC. Accusations of anti-Semitism have surfaced against at least three Republicans running for the House of Delegates, as well as Youngkin himself.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), A Jewish Member of the Virginia Beach House of Representatives, called Youngkin earlier this month for comments she made at a campaign event in which she accused George Soros of surreptitiously planting. to far-left activists at the local school. boards. Soros, a liberal Jewish billionaire who is frequently the target of anti-Semitic invectives, is outspoken about his political contributions and does not participate in school board races.
“I say it in my own party and I’m calling him now,” Luria said in a tweet at the time. “Evoking George Soros as a shadow funder is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. This is an unacceptable statement from Glenn Youngkin. “
Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn, who is the first Jewish and the first female Speaker of the House of Delegates, joined Doug Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of a vice president, earlier this month at a Jewish fundraising event. Democrat in Northern Virginia, where they invoked the uprising. anti-Semitism as a key reason to vote for Democrats in the state gubernatorial race, as well as in next year’s by-elections.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America has teamed up with Project Lincoln to run two ads on the web targeting Jewish voters in Northern Virginia, emphasizing anti-Semitism as a threat that they say Republicans are doing little to counter. He has also run telephone banks targeting Jewish voters in the state. One of the telephone banks was preceded by a pep talk from Dan Helmer, a delegate from the Jewish state whose opponent described him in an advertising mail rubbing his hands as he gazed at piles of gold coins.
The JDCA in a tweet asked Youngkin to “report this rude behavior,” referring to the protesters carrying tiki torches. The JDCA deleted the tweet after the Lincoln Project made its statement.
JDCA Executive Director Halie Soifer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Project Lincoln’s stunt was “inappropriate,” but said Youngkin’s campaign was to blame for allowing anti-Semitism to appear in the race.
“Outrage over Project Lincoln’s inappropriate campaign stunt should be redirected at Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia Republican Party’s embrace of right-wing extremism, as well as Youngkin’s repeated use of anti-Semitic tropes,” he said.
Republicans have also made anti-Semitism a problem at times. A Virginia state delegate who accused Israel of being behind the “fossil fuel wars” drew condemnation from the Republican Party; The delegate made his comments after being defeated in a Democratic primary and will no longer be in the legislature as of January.
Youngkin took to Twitter when Republicans criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for not immediately objecting when a Virginia university student told her that Israel had committed genocide. “When I am governor, there will be no room for anti-Semitism in Virginia,” Youngkin said.