A Jewish New York State Senator has been targeted with viciously antisemitic and misogynistic hate mail in response to her promotion of COVID-19 vaccinations in the Long Island community she serves.
Democratic Senator Anna Kaplan, who represents Nassau County in the Albany legislature, had recently mailed her constituents an information sheet regarding vaccines to counter the pandemic. One of the mail pieces was sent back to her office with a handwritten note that cited a coded antisemitic threat — “109 soon 110” — used by white supremacists.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the phrase refers to the false claim that Jews have been expelled in the past from 109 countries, and that the US or another country will shortly become the 110th.
The message accused Kaplan of lying about the vaccinations, recycling a conspiracy theory currently being pushed by anti-vaccination activists that more than 5,000 people died after receiving the shot. The anonymous writer then showered Kaplan with misogynistic abuse, calling her a “stupid, dumb, evil c__” and signing off with the antisemitic “109 soon 110” threat.
In a statement responding to the threat, Kaplan highlighted her background as the first refugee to be elected to the New York Senate. Born into a Jewish family — the Monahemis, in the Iranian city of Tabriz — Kaplan’s parents, fearing for their daughters safety, sent her to the US as an unaccompanied child refugee shortly after the 1979 Islamist revolution.
“This incident is a sad reminder that Nassau County is not immune to hatred and white supremacy, and it’s our responsibility as a community to forcefully reject this evil whenever it reveals itself among us,” Kaplan said on Tuesday. “As a former religious refugee who fled antisemitism in my birth country, I have seen first-hand how antisemitism begins to permeate a society and ultimately lead to violence against Jewish people.”
She continued: “That experience has taught me the importance of sounding the alarm against hate at every opportunity, and I hope this incident can be a teaching moment for all of us to remember that we can never stay silent in the face of hate.”
Several of Kaplan’s colleagues took to social media to express their solidarity with her.
“This is vile antisemitism and it has no place in Nassau County,” County Executive Laura Curran tweeted.
Former Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice declared: “This disgusting, misogynistic, and antisemitic hate speech has no place here on Long Island. Anna Kaplan is a dedicated public servant and I’m grateful for her leadership in combatting hatred in our communities.”
Fellow state legislator Michaëlle Solages asserted that it was “imperative more than ever that we condemn this symbol of racism and hatred.”
“This is disgusting,” Solages added.