Staten Island, NY – A campaign poster of former Congressman Max Rose was defaced to invoke an antisemitic trope on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, in Staten Island just weeks before November’s midterm elections.
The sign, bearing the name of the Democratic nominee for the 11th District, which includes Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, had “Soros soulja” written over it in a black marker. It was hung 10 feet high on a utility pole on the corner of Victory and Westcott Boulevards on the island. The poster was still up on Wednesday afternoon.
The term is slang for “soldier” and refers to a conspiracy theory in which Jewish billionaire George Soros controls Jewish Democrats. The Anti-Defamation League has deemed it a common antisemitic trope. This is the second time in a week that Rose, who is Jewish, has been targeted with antisemitism. Last week, a Rose campaign sign was found defaced with a swastika and the word “no” close to Temple Israel Reform Congregation on Staten Island.
In an interview, Rose decried politics fueled by hate. “Whoever did this took the time to write it, to somehow climb up that telephone pole and nail it in there — and the entire time they were quite obviously fueled by real hate and vitriol,” he said, attributing it to “the disgusting lies and politics in our nation.”
Rose, who was elected to Congress in 2018, is running in a rematch against Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican who beat him in 2020, to represent the district that went for former President Donald Trump in 2020. He accused the incumbent congresswoman of failing to commit to “a better form of politics” and stopping the spread of such hate against him.
“Whether it’s my Jewish faith or whether it’s someone else’s faith, nothing appears out of bounds,” he said. He pointed out that New York has seen a sharp rise in antisemitism in recent years, and said “it’s incumbent upon us to push back on it.”
Malliotakis on Twitter last week condemned the use of a swastika against her challenger, noting that she had worked with groups “like AIPAC” to condemn hateful and offensive acts against Jews.
A spokesperson for the Malliotakis campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the present poster.
In 2019, Malliotakis attacked Rose for accepting financial support from Soros, spelling out the businessman’s name in all caps.