Zeldin, Gershon claim to be targets of anti-Semitic rhetoric during campaign

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STONY BROOK -

Rep. Lee Zeldin and his Democratic challenger Perry Gershon say they have been targets of hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric during their campaign for the 1st Congressional District seat.

On Sunday, a swastika was found painted on a campaign sign for Perry Gershon in Stony Brook.

Gershon says other campaign signs have been defaced in recent weeks with phrases like "baby killer" and "gay lover."

Gershon is calling on his Republican opponent to condemn the vandalism.

Zeldin says he has also been the target of anti-Semitism during the campaign. He shared with News 12 some of the anti-Semitic messages that have been sent to him during the campaign, including one that referenced his wife and children being sent into a gas chamber.

"Whether it's someone attacking me or attacking my opponent, I will condemn it," says Zeldin. "But meanwhile, when I get called a Nazi a few thousand times by his supporters, and that's documented, and he has nothing to say? Posting a picture of my family of them marching off to the gas chamber and he has nothing to say?"

Zeldin went on to say he believes it was Gershon's team who painted the swastika on campaign sign Sunday. Gershon called the accusation appalling.

"That is just right out of the Donald Trump playbook. When something bad happens- go lie about your opponent. I expected better of Lee Zeldin," said Gershon.

Zeldin says he does condemn any attacks on Jewish people, and called the discovery Sunday afternoon a publicity stunt.

"It's a desperate tactic of a flailing campaign to try and get free publicity in the eleventh hour. I think that is shameful," said Zeldin.

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