Jim Russell, the Westchester Republican candidate challenging Rep. Nita Lowey, has filed suit against several journalists, state Republican leaders and an official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, claiming he was falsely characterized as a bigot.
The state Republican party withdrew its support for Russell last month after an essay Russell wrote in 2001 in the Occidental Journal, with controversial views about countering Jewish influence on Christianity and establishing "ethnic boundaries for socialization and marriage," was published by the Politico website.
The Anti-Defamation League said the essay indicated that Russell is a "white supremacist with anti-Semitic overtones."
In an interview with the Journal News published Sept. 22, Mark Weitzman, director of governmental affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York, said Russell was "citing and referring to people who are generally considered to be extremists, professional anti-Semites and racists. On his own words, from his own sources, from his own writings, I think there’s no question that this is a piece of racism and anti-Semitism dressed up and cloaked by pseudo-scholarship."
In a statement after the Quarterly article resurfaced, Russell said "a few sentences at the end of the paper have been taken out of context and grossly distorted."
Russell¹s defamation suit includes journalists from the Journal News, Cablevision¹s News 12, Salon.com and Regional News Network as well as Weitzman, Alex Carey, a spokesman for the state Republican Party and Douglas Colety, the party¹s Westchester chair.
After filing the suit, which seeks $1 million in damages from each defendant, Russell, told reporters "We will not tolerate political correctness being imposed upon us," the Journal News reported Wednesday.
When reached by The Jewish Week Wednesday Weitzman said he could not comment because of legal considerations.