Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Empire State of Anti-Zion

The brief tenure of a state GOP Director of Jewish Outreach

Print Email

Yossi Gestetner, the former New York State GOP Director of Jewish Outreach (as of 20 hours ago) has nearly 3,800 followers on Twitter. There he lets his conservative flag fly, not hesitating to comment on the failure of the Obama-led economic recovery and to talk up Republican candidates for office (and occasionally suggest that Bill Clinton bears some responsibility for 9/11 or that President Obama may not be an American-born citizen). Gestetner also likes to talk small ball: local Jewish politics in Rockland County, depictions of Hasidic communities in the media that he finds objectionable, and dispatches from community events in the tri-state area.

Accordingly, Ed Cox, the New York State GOP chair (and son-in-law of President Richard Nixon), must have considered the 27-year-old Gestetner to be a natural fit to bring Jewish voters out for the Republican Party when Cox appointed him to the post of New York State GOP Director of Jewish Outreach just over a week ago.

And though Gestetner blogs avidly and has tweeted over 12,000 times, a look at his prolific output will yield very little on one issue that delivers many Jewish voters toward Republican candidates: Israel. Of the several hundred tweets he’s sent out into the world in the past month alone, Gestetner only mentioned Israel 11 times, none of which contained any kernels of the advocacy upon which he’s built his career.

Last night, an expose by The Jewish Channel blew the lid off of the story when it aired an interview between Gestetner and journalist Steven Weiss, in which Gestetner’s past work consulting for the group True Torah Jews Against Zionism was revealed. When confronted in the (tense) interview, Gestetner equivocated often about his previous work as well as his personal views on Zionism and Israel, never endorsing the idea of a Jewish State:

“I’m an American, I live in the United States, and I hope to see that people who live in Israel, such as I have immediate family, that they are safe and sound.”

The interview also touched on accusations that Gestetner advocated on behalf of alleged criminals and child abusers in the Hasidic community. On Gestetner’s blog, one can find a vigorous (and baffling) defense of the decision by the family of Leiby Kletzky—the eight-year-old Hasidic boy whose murder made headlines across the country last summer—to rely on a local Jewish civilian patrol (shomrim) to investigate the boy’s disappearance instead of immediately calling the New York Police Department. Numerous ultra-Orthodox communities have come under major fire in recent months for refusing to report crimes within the community to local authorities (and ostracizing those who do).

According to the report by The Jewish Channel, less than 30 minutes after GOP State Chairman Ed Cox found out about the investigation of his new appointee, Gestetner had resigned. In a post on his blog, Gestetner claims that his resignation had nothing to do with the interview. An excerpt of the post:

As I tweeted earlier, I resigned my duties as Director of Jewish Outreach for the New York State Republican Committee.

A main reason behind this is simple: Dean Skelos, the Leader of the Republicans in the New York State Senate has an understanding with former NYC Democratic Councilman Simcha Felder that he, Skelos, will back Felder in the November elections for the “Super Jewish State Senate District” on the expense of David Storobin, a sitting Republican State Senator.

I reached Gestetner via e-mail last night to ask him about the interview with The Jewish Channel. Here’s what he wrote:

Mr. Weiss whose news reports have less views in a busy week than what my blog has on a slow day, is claiming credit for a story that is bigger than him. I can’t waste my time responding to an irrelevant article whose videos of it show clearly that the writer is spinning and misrepresenting what has been said.

Monsey Blogger to Become an Orthodox Jewish Voice for GOP [Journal News]

New York State GOP Hired Anti-Zionist as Director of Jewish Outreach [The Jewish Channel]


Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

rocky2345 says:

Yossi Gestetner: What the 21st century Jewish man will increasingly look like. Not exactly your grandmother’s idea of “my son the doctor”. Goodby Scarsdale. Hello Monsey.

    Jacob Arnon says:

    “Yossi Gestetner: What the 21st century Jewish man will increasingly look like.”

    How do you know this?

      rocky2345 says:

      Did you see articles on the recent New York area Jewish population survey? Mainstream Judaism is shrinking owing to intermarriage and lack of interest. The Hasidics and other ultra orthodox groups are growing rapidly but most of them get very poor secular educations. Few of them will become doctors, lawyers, dentists or accountants, or even investment investment bankers. It’s a new world out there, Goldie.

Joseph Krausz says:

A couple of problems with your post here. First of all, the fact that Mr. Gestetner worked for an anti-Zionist group as a media consultant is no reason that he shouldn’t be less than enthusiastic (equivocating, in your words) about their beliefs. Attorneys represent people who they don’t personally agree with all the time, and so do media consultants. The fact that he has a beard and so do they is no reason to say that he agrees with them, but it was probably a reason that they felt comfortable hiring him.
Second, you manage to conflate a post of his that points out an inaccurate New York Post editorial that blamed Leiby Kletzky’s parents and the Shomrim for his death with the idea that Gestetner was advocating going to the Shomrim rather than the police. He said no such thing; he merely pointed out that the facts indicate that the child did not die because of the delay in contacting the police.
Third, you’ve set up some sort of connection between child abuse and a delay in reporting a child missing to the police. I recently heard a presentation from the New Jersey State Police child abduction experts. Many people don’t call the police right away, simply because they are nervous that they will be seen as having been negligent; if they call the police, they think, their child will be taken away from them anyway. It may not be the best idea, but it is exceptionally common. It has nothing to do with abuse cases in the Orthodox community.
But Orthodox Jews make good targets for media attacks nonetheless, don’t they?


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Empire State of Anti-Zion

The brief tenure of a state GOP Director of Jewish Outreach

More on Tablet:

Kerry Links Rise of ISIS With Failed Peace Talks

By Lee Smith — Secretary of State: ‘I see a lot of heads nodding’