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Reply to Bethel letter writer

August 28, 2013

In reference to Howie Block’s letter addressed to Town of Bethel Supervisor Dan Sturm demanding an apology for comments stated at the last town board meeting, it was I who spoke about garbage and littering tossed by boat renters, namely Hasidim. I live on a lake and frequently witness this phenomenon.

As an award-winning novelist, blogger and satire writer for several magazines as well as a radio and TV personality, I take offense at Howie’s accusations. He never read my work, for if so, he would never have called me an anti-Semite. It’s also evident that Howie’s a proponent of Hasidaphobia. Similar to Islamophobia, Hasidaphobia’s where any disagreement or criticism about Hasidim, the religion and the community is tantamount to anti-Semitism. It’s an effective muzzling strategy to defending against hatred instead of addressing the issue at hand.

Which may explain his agenda. As a former elected official, a judge, it’s unconscionable that Howie litigates for unemployment insurance. To date, he cost the Town if Bethel $8,000 in legal fees. With his latest appeal, that figure will aggregate $10,000 or more. Which is a lot of money for this town to absorb.

I like to call his letter to the editor “sleight of hand” where he abused my issue about littering to obfuscate the fact that the apology he solicits from the town supervisor is not for my alleged Hasidaphobic conversation, but because he didn’t get upfront his unemployment insurance. Let’s see how many appeals he can file against the Town of Bethel before the town folds and gives him unemployment, or goes bankrupt standing for what’s right.

Maura Stone
White Lake, NY