A lefty New Jersey Democrat learned the hard way that not all rabbis are kosher.
The campaign of Imani Oakley, a 31-year-old progressive activist running for Congress in Newark, thought it was in negotiations to organize a fundraiser with like-minded Linda Goldstein — the “chief rabbi” of Gaza — but instead were chatting up a Big Apple lawyer running a parody Twitter account.
On the bizarre parody account, Rabbi Linda Goldstein warns Hamas fighters to practice social distancing in terror tunnels; posts photos of herself posing with a menorah made of Qassam rockets; and bills herself as the “Jewish issues advisor” to Hamas boss Ismail Haniyeh.
“Excited to announce #Hamas has given me permission to build the first and only #Jewish #Ghetto in #Gaza #Palestine!,” Goldstein announces in a June tweet. “By default, wherever a #Jew lives they’re #Colonizing. Ghettos ensure Jews don’t displace #Palestinians.”
None of Goldstein’s anti-Israel public messages appeared to pose any red flags for Maita Lockhart, Oakley’s campaign manager, who responded enthusiastically when the faux-rabbi reached out in November with an offer to organize a fundraiser in Gaza.
“I would be grateful if you could provide dates/times for this week or next to connect and discuss further,” Lockhart said in a Nov 23 introductory email.
“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 responded on Thanksgiving day. “There are several influential Jewish-Americans in Gaza who can provide plenty of help back in her district, including contributions and media placement.”
Oakley markets herself as a “Squad”-style progressive in her primary challenge to Rep. Donald Payne Jr., who has held the seat for a decade. In addition to posts about the Green New Deal, systemic racism and other progressive totems, Oakley’s social media accounts are full of anti-Israel talking points describing Israel as committing “apartheid” and “genocide.”
The parody account is the creation of a pro-Israel attorney named Michael, who declined to reveal his last name because he fears retribution. Michael told The Post he created the account to mock far-left, anti-Zionists Jews.
“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.”
Lockhart again followed up with the “rabbi” after the holiday.
“We are so pleased that you would like to host a virtual fundraiser,” she said. “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.”
Oakley is far from the only far-left progressive who has unwittingly embraced the Hamas-loving rabbi.
Thelma Walker, a former Labour member of the British parliament, has also offered Rabbi Linda her “respect and solidarity” in private messages that were shared by Michael with The Post. Walker did not respond to request for comment from The Post.
Gaza is a coastal strip of land has been controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization, since 2007. There are no rabbis there, or any Jews, and the territory is frequently used as a staging base for rocket attacks against civilians in Israel.
“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 said.
Lockhart confirmed to The Post she had been in contact with Goldstein and was unaware she was being played.
“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.”
In a statement posted to Twitter in advance of this story, Oakley said that “no political attacks will stop me from defending the humanity and dignity of the Palestinian people.”