Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, is launching two TV ads focusing on his Republican rival’s association with Gab, a social media platform plagued by anti-Semitism. Doug Mastriano paid Gab and its founder, Andrew Torba, a consulting fee of $5,000 in April and maintained an active account on the site until recently.
The 30-second commercials – titled “Minutes” and “real threat— point to the fact that Gab was the social media platform used by Robert Bowers, the man who killed 11 Jews at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018. The Shapiro campaign said the ads will run on cable and broadcast networks statewide, and gained additional time in the Pittsburgh media market before a Mastriano campaign rally with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis scheduled for Friday.
Mastriano, leader of the “Stop the Steal” movement aimed at overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election, deleted his Gab account last month and condemned anti-Semitism in the face of increasing pressure from Jewish Democrats and Republicans. But he refrained from denouncing the site and its founder, who often shares his anti-Semitic beliefs on line. According to this, Gab users have stepped up their anti-Semitic posts – including death threats and calls for violence against Jews.
One of the ads features comments made by lawyer and Tree of Life synagogue member Jeffrey Letwin at a recent rally. “Doug Mastriano paid Gab.com thousands of dollars to have alt-right, anti-Semitic extremists on his campaign,” said Letwin, who served as president of the Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh. The announcement suggests that Mastriano is a “real threat” to the state,
The Republican Candidate later postponed against Jewish criticism of his association with Gab by highlighting his campaign launch ad, where a pastor donned a tallit and blew a shofar .
Last week, Torba, who openly supports Mastriano as governor, called Shapirowho is Jewish, “the antichrist” and said he was praying for Shapiro’s conversion.