A progressive New Jersey Democrat was targeted by a fake rabbi Twitter account, which shares offensive, satirical tweets that mock left-wing anti-Israel sentiments.
The campaign manager for Imani Oakley, a 31-year-old pro-Palestine candidate running for Congress in Newark, was in talks with Rabbi Linda Goldstein for a fundraiser in the Gaza strip of Israel, when it was revealed that Rabbi Goldstein was in fact a pro-Israel, male New York lawyer.
‘Rabbi Goldstein’, who has been on Twitter since May 2021 and has more than 3,000 followers, has shared many offensive tweets about Israel and calls herself the Chief Rabbi of Gazza and the ‘Jewish issues advisor’ to senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
The lawyer, who was named only as Michael for fears of retaliation, explained they were sharing satirical anti-Israel messages as the character because he is ‘making fun of the five percent of Jews that hate Israel.’
‘I created this personality that shows how reductive and absurd these people are’
In one tweet, Goldstein warns Hamas fighters to remember how to socially distance properly in terror tunnels; while in another, she shared a photoshopped picture of herself posing next to a menorah made of Qassam rockets. She also calls herself the ‘Jewish issues advisor’ to Hamas boss Ismail Haniyeh, when in fact there are no Jews in the Gaza strip.
‘Excited to announce #Hamas has given me permission to build the first and only #Jewish #Ghetto in #Gaza #Palestine!,’ Goldstein write in a tweet shared in June. ‘By default, wherever a #Jew lives they’re #Colonizing. Ghettos ensure Jews don’t displace #Palestinians.’
A campaign manager for Imani Oakley (pictured), a 31-year-old progressive candidate running for Congress in Newark, held talks with an account named Rabbi Linda Goldstein to set up a fundraiser in the Gaza strip of Israel in November
None of the messages appeared to raise any concerns with Marita Lockhart, Oakley’s campaign manager.
When Goldstein reached out expressing interest in hosting a fundraiser with Oakley last month, Lockhart almost immediately responded asking to connect to discuss.
‘I would be grateful if you could provide dates/times for this week or next to connect and discuss further,’ Lockhart wrote in an introductory email from November 23.
‘I think it would be terrific if Ms. Oakley would in-person or virtually (over Zoom) attend a house party/fundraiser in Gaza. I can’t think of a better way to show off her #FreePalestine bona fides,’ Rabbi Goldstein said in response.
Oakley’s campaign manager Marita Lockhart reached out to the parody account on November 23, asking Rabbi Linda if she ‘could provide dates/times for this week or next to connect and discuss further.’
Rabbi Linda responded to Lockhart’s introductory email on Thanksgiving Day, asking if Oakley could travel to meet ‘several influential Jewish-Americans in Gaza who can provide plenty of help in her district, including contributions and media placement.’
After realizing that she had been tricked, Oakley expressed his disappointment on Twitter. She said she wants the social media platform to do more to ‘suppress the fight against injustice than they are to fighting white supremacy’
‘There are several influential Jewish-Americans in Gaza who can provide plenty of help back in her district, including contributions and media placement.’
Oakley has previously described her agenda as similar to the one set up by members of the left-wing ‘Squad’, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tiab (D-MI). She is up against fellow Democrat Donald Payne Jr, 62, who has been in the role since 2012.
On Twitter, most of Oakley’s tweets and endorsements are related to the Green New Deal, white supremacy and other progressive talking points.
However, she also talks about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, describing it as an ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide’.
On the other hand, the parody account was created by a pro-Israel lawyer named Michael, who declined to share his last name due to fears of being revenged upon. Michael told The New York Post that he made the account to mock left-wing Jews who claim to be anti-Zionists.
‘I am making fun of the five percent of Jews that hate Israel,’ he said. ‘I created this personality that shows how reductive and absurd these people are.’
After Thanksgiving, Lockhart followed up with the faux-rabbi, writing: ‘We are so pleased that you would like to host a virtual fundraiser. I would be grateful if you could provide dates/times for us to speak further this week or next so that we can solidify next steps.’
Rabbi Linda Goldstein, a parody Twitter account which often posts shocking and satirical tweets mocking anti-Israel sentiments, is run by a New York City real estate lawyer
To her defense, Oakley isn’t the only far-left progressive who has been tricked by the Hamas-loving rabbi.
Thelma Walker, a former Labour member of the British parliament, has also paid her ‘respect and solidarity’ to Rabbi Linda in private messages.
Walker did not immediately respond to Dailymail.com’s request for comment.
The Gaza Strip or simply Gaza, is a Palestinian enclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It has been under the control of Hamas, a Sunni-Islamic terrorist organization, since 2007. Little-to-no Jews live there and the strip is frequently used as a testing site to assemble rockets, subsequently used against Israeli civilians.
‘Jews cannot live in Gaza. So the fact that people think she is the chief rabbi in Gaza or has a temple is Gaza just shows how uneducated people are about the conflict.’ Michael told the New York Post.
Lockhart confirmed to The Post that she had been unaware of the trolling and that she had exchanged several emails with Michael.
‘We weren’t going to host anything in Gaza that was obviously out of the question,’ Lockhart said. ‘I endeavored to respond and go through the process, but at no point did we commit to doing something.’
After realizing that she had been deceived, Oakley said that ‘no political attacks will stop me from defending the humanity and dignity of the Palestinian people.’
‘We were in the process of vetting Linda Goldstein. If you Google the name, plenty of people come up. It’s a common name, and we had no indication that it was tied to a parody Twitter account,’ she added.
‘I’m being targeted for standing up for the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people. Dirty political tactics trying to slander me and my campaign have no place in this or any elections. This is a shameful attack on a woman of color fighting for justice.’