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New York State Councilman Brown slams local polio campaign as anti-Semitic

He says vaccination campaign furthers 'depiction of Jews as disease spreaders'

New York State Department of Health truck with an advertisement - 'Polio Spreads in Israel' (Photo: Avi Brown)

New York State Councilman Eric “Ari” Brown blasted a local polio mobile campaign, primarily focused on Jewish areas, perceived to be anti-Semitic. 

A truck employed by the New York State Department of Health reportedly drove mostly through New York neighborhoods and towns with large Jewish populations, advertising that “Polio Spreads in Israel. Get immunized now.”

Brown and other Jewish senior officials in New York urged Governor Kathy Hochul to nix the vaccination campaign due to its “anti-Semitic aroma and depiction of Jews as disease spreaders.”

“Throughout history, Jews have been falsely accused of spreading infectious diseases, and it is not surprising to see that the state’s Department of Health has sent a truck to our Jewish community on Long Island,” said Brown, in his official letter to the U.S. Health Department.

Brown, the deputy mayor of Cedarhurst, N.Y., home to many religious Jews, equated the controversial campaign to actions by the “nazis who used preventive measures like ghetto walls to contain the spread of Typhoid fever.” 

Echoing Brown’s words, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he was worried the “disturbing ads contain language that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly targeted Orthodox Jews disproportionally, making them out to be alleged spreaders of the coronavirus, which led to political backlash. Looking for a political comeback, Cuomo recently launched “Progressives for Israel,” an organization that seeks to promote Israel advocacy among U.S. Democrats. 

New York City is home to approximately 1.6 million Jews, making it the largest Jewish center in the world outside of Israel. 


The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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