A Florida state House candidate on Wednesday called the Anti-Defamation League a "despicable organization" after the civil rights agency criticized an email he sent to supporters claiming a vote for him is “a vote for the Jewish community.”
Last month, Surfside City Commissioner Sheldon Lisbon, a Democrat and himself Jewish, sent an email that acknowledged that Florida’s House District 100 is "primarily a Jewish district composed of residents like us," the Miami Herald reports.
According to the Herald, the district is "overwhelmingly white and heavily Jewish." Lisbon’s opponent in the newly drawn district, Democratic state Rep. Joe Gibbons, is black.
The message’s blunt wording caught the attention of the Florida chapter of the Anti-Defamaton League, which fired off a letter to Lisbon asking him to retract his email.
"Appealing to voters along religious lines is divisive," reads the letter, signed by Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL regional director for Florida. "It is contrary to the ideal of including all Americans in the political process, regardless of whether they are members of large and powerful religious groups, religious minorities, or subscribe to no faith tradition."
In an interview with the Herald’s editorial board Wednesday, Lisbon defended the targeted outreach and brushed off the ADL missive.
"The ADL is a despicable organization," he said. "It's entirely proper to go to your base. You can go to anyone you want to to ask for help. This is called Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech."
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