Dark clouds roll in while ominous orchestral music swells in a video posted on Wednesday night by the Rockland County Republican Party.
Large text flashes slowly across the screen warning that “a storm is brewing” and “if they win, we lose.”
The “they” are the ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents of the villages and towns just northwest of New York City, where tension has been steadily increasing between rapidly growing Hasidic enclaves and the surrounding secular and non-Jewish communities.
The anti-Semitic video was widely denounced by Democrats. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement, “This type of attack and incitement against the Hasidic community is the very definition of discrimination and anti-Semitism.”
He added, “There is no excuse for anti-Semitism masquerading as concerns over zoning or development.”
Even the chairman of the State Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, said it was “an ill-conceived, bad mistake” that was “the antithesis of what the Republican Party stands for.”
By late Thursday morning, the video had been removed from the Rockland County Republican Party’s Facebook page, but it had already become a key moment in the dispute over the development of large apartment buildings for Hasidic residents, in place of single-family homes.
The video, which is more than two minutes long, accuses Aron Wieder, a prominent Hasidic legislator, and his “bloc” of “plotting a takeover” of the county by redrawing voting districts. It goes on to cite overdevelopment as a threat to “our homes, our families, our schools, our communities, our water, our way of life.”
The video ends by urging viewers, in large capital letters to “TAKE BACK CONTROL.”
After the video was taken down, Lawrence Garvey, the Rockland County Republican Party chairman, defended it in a statement.
“Regardless of your thoughts of the video, there are facts that cannot be ignored,” he said. “This is not, nor has it ever been a religious issue. It is an issue of right and wrong.”
He added that “anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic.”
Ed Day, the Republican county executive, acknowledged that the tone of the video was “unacceptable,” adding that he had asked the county party to take it down.
But, he wrote in a statement, “the content of the video is factual.”
“I have a great deal of respect for our Jewish neighbors and want them to know that as their county executive, I will always stand up against hatred,” he said. “That said, the concerns raised about overdevelopment are accurate, well-grounded and desperately need to be addressed, but this must be done in a way free of rhetoric and rancor.”
Mr. Wieder, the Democratic lawmaker featured in the Republicans’ video, said the ultra-Orthodox voting bloc was not united in its support for development projects in the region, yet was used as a scapegoat for overdevelopment.
“I was sad to see that my face was used in this terrible video,” he said, adding, “I myself am against overdevelopment.”
He added that complaints about overdevelopment were used as a dog whistle for anti-Semitism.
Over the past few decades, Rockland’s ultra-Orthodox community has gone from a small, insular group, to a significant voting bloc, making up about 31 percent of the county’s population, according to the state.
As more and more synagogues, yeshivas and multifamily homes for Jewish residents have been built, disagreement over where to draw the line when it comes to land use and development has emerged as well.
Earlier this year, a measles outbreak in the county’s ultra-Orthodox enclaves exacerbated the rift between their community and its secular neighbors. The county executive took the extraordinary step of declaring a public health emergency barring unvaccinated children from public places.
The most recent point of contention has been the Pascack Ridge project, a 220-unit housing development in the town of Ramapo being proposed by an ultra-Orthodox developer.
At a heated public hearing on Aug. 15, many non-Jewish residents came out in opposition to the high-density building. Some accused the town of showing favoritism to Hasidic residents at the expense of the secular population.
A similar conflict is playing out one county over in the town of Chester, where local leaders have gone to painstaking lengths to block a housing development that they believe will attract Hasidic home buyers. The developers are now suing the town for violating fair housing and other anti-discrimination laws.
Mr. Wieder said that the way the video makers used “us versus them” language and created something “reminiscent of the 1920s and the 1930s and Nazi Germany, then it absolutely is anti-Semitic. It should raise concern.”