GOP candidate Doug Mastriano's wife: 'We love Israel more than Jews'

Mastriano dismissed claims of antisemitism as "allegations from the left."

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano greets supporters as Jenna Ellis, former legal advisor and counsel to former President Donald Trump, stands on stage during his primary night party at The Orchards in Chambersburg, Penn., May 17, 2022. (photo credit: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO/GETTY IMAGES)
Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano greets supporters as Jenna Ellis, former legal advisor and counsel to former President Donald Trump, stands on stage during his primary night party at The Orchards in Chambersburg, Penn., May 17, 2022.
(photo credit: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO/GETTY IMAGES)

The wife of Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano rejected claims of antisemitism concerning her husband's previous statements, responding that he family loves Israel "more than a lot of Jews do," during a press conference on Saturday

At the press conference, KAN news reporter Nathan Guttman asked Mastriano to respond to complaints of antisemitism made after the candidate attacked his rival Josh Shapiro for going to a private Jewish day school and concerning Mastriano's former connections with the far-right Gab social media platform.

Before Mastriano could respond, his wife, Rebbie, stepped in stating "I'm gonna say as a family we so much love Israel, in fact I'm gonna say we probably love Israel more than a lot of Jews do, I have to say that and the reason why I say that is because... we've given for, I would say at least ten years, outreach to Israel and Jerusalem."

Rebbie added that their family had saved up for five years in order to bring their son to visit Israel "because it was that important for us to educate our son on loving other cultures and understanding different backgrounds."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro appears on CNN on Nov. 4 to discuss vote counting in Pennsylvania (credit: screenshot)Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro appears on CNN on Nov. 4 to discuss vote counting in Pennsylvania (credit: screenshot)

"We are [an] extremely pro-Israel, pro-Jewish community," said Rebbie. "The issue that you're speaking of has to do with the hypocrisy of one individual."

"I would like to provide as much of an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to choose [to homeschool their children,] if it's possible, if Doug was in a position to do something, but what we see is that somebody that is able to have the money to go to an expensive private school doesn't want others to have that same ability," added Mastriano's wife in reference to Shapiro.

Mastriano had come under fire in the past month for comments he made concerning the Jewish day school that Shapiro went to and sent his children to, saying that Shapiro "grew up in a privileged neighborhood, attended one of the most privileged schools in the nation as a young man, not college, as a kid, sending his four kids to the same privileged, exclusive, elite school, $30-40,000 per pupil. So we talk about him having disdain for people like us."

Shapiro went to what is now called the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, but was then known as Akiba Hebrew Academy, according to JTA. CNN reporter Jake Tapper, who also went to the school, expressed outrage at Mastriano's comments at the time, saying “It’s a private Jewish parochial school. And I suppose, in that sense, it is privileged. But I do not know many people who would describe it the way that Mr. Mastriano did.”

Mastriano on antisemitism claims: 'I tend not to answer stupid questions'

Mastriano responded to the claims as well during the press conference on Saturday, dismissing what he called "allegations from the left."

"White supremacist, antisemitic, homophobe: one of the Democrats put together a list of eight different 'phobes,' some of these 'phobes' I didn't even know exist, I was like are you serious, so I tend not to...it says in Proverbs, from your holy book, King Solomon said 'answer not a fool in his folly' so I tend not to answer stupid questions," said the Republican candidate to the Israeli reporter, stressing, however, that he was not calling the reporter "a fool."

Mastriano claimed that Shapiro was "trying to hide behind something that does not exist" and was calling him antisemitic "for simply pointing out that he can afford school choice." The gubernatorial candidate pointed to his military career as well, stressing that he was vetted for extremism and that "there's not an inch of that in my system or blood."

Mastriano additionally stressed that he did not mention the religious affiliation of Shapiro's school and said Shapiro had "nothing to run on except calling people names."

The Republican candidate added that he would strongly oppose the BDS movement, saying "We're done with any organizations that are pushing a boycott on Israel and Pennsylvania."

Mastriano's campaign continues to come under fire for antisemitism

Mastriano's campaign has come under fire for antisemitic comments and affiliations multiple times in the past year.

Jenna Ellis, a top adviser for Mastriano, seemingly questioned Shapiro's Judaism, tweeting "Josh Shapiro is at best a secular Jew in the same way Joe Biden is a secular Catholic — both are extremists for gender transition surgeries on minors and no limits on abortion."

Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab, reportedly served as a consultant for Mastriano, with the candidate spending $5,000 on advertising on the social media network.

In a livestream responding to condemnations of Mastriano and Gab, Torba stated that Jews and other non-Christians are "not conservative" because it is "an explicitly Christian movement" and because the US "is an explicitly Christian country."

"My policy is not to conduct interviews with reporters who aren't Christian or with outlets who aren't Christian and Doug has a very similar media strategy where he does not do interviews with these people. He does not talk to these people. He does not give press access to these people," said the Gab founder. "These people are dishonest. They're liars. They're a den of vipers and they want to destroy you. My typical conversation with them when they email me is 'repent and accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.' I take it as an opportunity to try and convert them."

Torba called Shapiro "a Soros puppet" (a reference to Jewish billionaire George Soros) and reiterated claims that he was involved in voter fraud in the 2020 election. Torba stressed that Mastriano "answers only to Jesus Christ."