Open Letter to The Record’s Alfred Doblin from Sarah Neibart, Garrett for Congress Campaign Manager
I think there’s no doubt we can all agree that this election season has crossed the Rubicon in terms of political rhetoric. But Monday, November 7, 2016 completely changed my world. That’s the day The Bergen Record published my name and called me a Nazi for questioning whether Democratic campaign operatives were involved in a disgusting political stunt. The only reason you’ve attacked me is because I’m a female Republican supporting Congressman Scott Garrett, a man that you’ve chronically made your target of editorial ire.
As a professional political operative, I’ve been astounded at the political tactics of Josh Gottheimer’s campaign throughout this race. Their name-calling began early, as they manipulated the Congressman’s policy stances to paint him as a bad person. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, as the Left often assumes that if Republicans were smarter or better people, we’d be Democrats, but this was an operation unlike any other. They started by using words like “bigot,” “extremist,” and “racist.” They absurdly alleged that my candidate supports domestic terrorism. They photoshopped a government document in order to allege the Congressman was under investigation for bribery. They’ve even claimed he hates puppies and kittens.
Today, your editorial adopts a tactic straight out of the playbook of these Democrat operatives – just as they protested businesses and people supporting Scott Garrett in order to bully them out of their political positions, you have called me the worst name imaginable, just because of my work for him.
Last week, things reached an unbelievable new low. A flyer was circulated depicting our challenger, Josh Gottheimer, as the devil. We first found out through a media inquiry, and when I saw the image, I felt a sickness in my stomach. This disgusting, hateful flyer enraged me and is not something our campaign would ever, ever consider distributing or condoning. The majority of our campaign staffers are Jewish, as am I. These flyers had been reportedly distributed everywhere – on cars, in train stations, on trees, and in elementary schools. School children had seen this horrific image.
One thing was overwhelmingly clear to me. The distribution of this flyer – though it looked crudely made – seemed like it came from a pretty sophisticated operation. It just didn’t seem feasible that it came from one unhinged lunatic supporter of our campaign. And it was suspicious to me that the Gottheimer campaign “found” these flyers first and alerted the media – and that none of our supporters throughout the community had seen them, and no one in the media had independently seen them before Gottheimer’s press release.
In your editorial this morning, you published my name and my statement suggesting that Gottheimer’s campaign had distributed these flyers. And then you said, “This is — whether Neibart was aware or not — exactly what the Nazis would say.”
You don’t know me, Alfred, but let me tell you about a few things of which I’m “aware.”
I’m “aware” of the persecution that Jews have faced all over the world, simply because of our faith. I’ve stood in a gas chamber in Poland and seen the nail marks down the wall. I’m “aware” of how people are systematically murdered for their heritage or their beliefs. I lived in Egypt under the oppressive government of the Muslim Brotherhood. I’ve been to Rwanda and seen the aftermath of those atrocities. We must be vigilant against hatred, but that conversation is completely separate from whether or not I believe Josh Gottheimer’s campaign would be so insidious as to fake an anti-Semitic flyer and then put out a press release feigning moral outrage.
My statement calling for an investigation into the origins of this flyer didn’t come from any ignorance about the history of my own heritage, it came from my experience as a political operative and my knowledge of Josh Gottheimer’s campaign. Democrats and liberal special interests across this country have taken every vote Congressman Garrett has ever made – whether it’s about protecting the First Amendment or reining in out-of-control spending – and manipulated them to expand the false narrative of the Congressman being hateful and out of touch with the Fifth District, despite repeatedly being elected as their Congressman. Why is it unreasonable for me to assume that a flyer no one in our network knew about was from the Gottheimer campaign? I believe that the Gottheimer campaign thinks that their current charges of bigotry and racism aren’t sinking in, and they wanted to do something to make sure they win Bergen County. You have stayed silent as Gottheimer’s campaign attacked Congressman Garrett’s faith, and yet you use my questions about Democrat campaign tactics as a weapon against me. This demonstrates that not only do you have a political agenda aimed squarely against Congressman Garrett, you are an intolerant man who refuses to recognize that other people are entitled to their own political ideologies without being labeled as racists, bigots or terrorists.
Alfred, you’ve lost the moral high ground to denounce this cycle’s political rhetoric, and you no longer get to call anyone else a bully, as you’ve smugly taken pleasure in doing over the past two years. This election will be over tomorrow, but you have to live with the fact that you cheapened the suffering of both of our families at the hands of cruel men committing unspeakable atrocities – all to make a political point.
Garrett for Congress