Jewish leaders call on GOP candidates to reject anti-Semitic slurs

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Jewish leaders sounded the alarm on Monday over anti-Semitism they say is becoming increasingly normalized in American politics after a series of bigoted comments from associates or supporters of GOP candidates and growing calls for they firmly reject such rhetoric.

In Nevada, GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s campaign on Monday denounced anti-Semitic tweets linked to a recently fired staffer who said Jews were part of a “cult” rather than a religion. But in Georgia, Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has not publicly dismissed a show of support from Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who has made a slew of comments attacking Jews in recent weeks, including including a threatening tweet that he would go “dead con 3 on JEWS.”

Democratic-aligned Jewish groups also criticized Pennsylvania Senate nominee Mehmet Oz on Monday for planning to show up at a rally this weekend with GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. Mastriano unsettled Jewish Democrats and Republicans with his extremist ties and comments about his Jewish opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The Republican candidate’s wife claimed over the weekend that she and her husband “probably love Israel more than a lot of Jews.”

Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), the former U.S. senator and top Jewish candidate on a national slate, said he believes most Americans reject anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. “But if leaders aren’t explicit and stand up against it, it can grow.” He said Walker should reject Ye’s support given his “explicit and despicable anti-Semitism”.

Lieberman, now an independent, said things had gotten worse since he made history as Al Gore’s vice president in 2000. He blamed, in part, a degraded political discourse in which fanatics “can have some confidence to come out of their holes”. in the ground.”

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress advocacy group, said an apparent rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric in politics is “disturbing to all of us” and argued that “on the right…we don’t see the type leadership it will take”. to stop the growth of this kind of anti-Semitic hatred”.

His nonpartisan group recently criticized former President Donald Trump for saying American Jews need to “pull themselves together” and appreciate Trump’s work for Israel more. While Trump has been “a true friend of Israel,” the American Jewish Congress saidsuch statements “contribute to the rise of anti-Semitism that too many Jews are forced to deal with”.

“We are at a particular time in our country where bigotry like anti-Semitism is being normalized, where people can make statements and where there are no real repercussions in the political sphere,” he said. said Marilyn Mayo, senior researcher at the Anti-Defamation League Study Center. Extremism.

In Arizona, GOP candidate in a House marquee race, Eli Crane, urged the public to seek out an anti-Semitic sermon during a recent campaign stop. Speaking last month at Casa Grande, Crane said he was motivated to run because of the “radical ideologies that are destroying this country” and that he was most concerned about “cultural Marxism”, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has describe as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory gaining traction on the American right.

He encouraged the public to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a “homosexual agenda”.

“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions who understand what this war is, what they are trying to do and have and have the courage to call it, we are going to lose this country.

The Crane campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Republicans, including Jewish GOP leaders, have defended their candidates’ and leaders’ responses to anti-Semitic comments and said many Democrats have failed to speak out against the troubling remarks within their own ranks. A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee pointed to comments by Democratic lawmakers using language widely denounced as anti-Semitic, such as Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) 2012 tweet that Israel “has hypnotized the world.” Omar defended the comments as targeting the country’s military action.

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said Walker, Laxalt and Oz have all “been very clear in terms of their strong opposition and condemnation of anti-Semitism.” He said he was “absolutely not” concerned about the fired Laxalt staffer, who joined the RJC for an event this fall where he stressed his support for Israel.

As for Trump’s tirade against Jews in the United States, Brooks called it a “Rorschach test” that offended critics, but Trump supporters expressed something “absolutely accurate” – that the community Jewish community should take a tougher stance on issues such as Israel’s security.

The RJC, however, refused to endorse Mastriano, who came under fire this summer for paying $5,000 for campaign advice on the far-right Gab site — where a gunman posted anti-Semitic screeds before murdering 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue four years ago. Gab managing director Andrew Torba said it was his policy to speak only to Christian journalists and said Mastriano did the same. Mastriano released a statement distancing himself from Torba and saying, “I reject anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

In Pennsylvania governor’s run, Shapiro stresses Jewish faith as he warns of Mastriano’s extremism

Mastriano also came under fire after telling supporters that his Democratic opponent, Shapiro, had “contempt for people like us” because he attended and sent his children to a “privileged, exclusive and elite” school, an institution Jewish. Over the weekend, an Israeli reporter asked Mastriano about the comments, which were widely condemned as promoting anti-Semitic tropes, as well as his association with Gab.

Rebbie Mastriano, the candidate’s wife, chimed in and said, “We probably love Israel more than a lot of Jews.

Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, noted that the words echoed Trump’s social media post touting his relationship with Israel and said other GOP members should have criticized Trump. “For a former president to direct this kind of animosity against Jews two weeks ago…of course it’s going to be echoed by other Republicans,” she said.

Democratic candidates drew attention to GOP candidates’ responses to anti-Semitic remarks. Sen. Raphael G. Warnock’s (D) campaign on Monday took aim at Walker’s silence over Ye’s social media post praising Walker as “PRO LIFE,” saying in a press release that Walker “should tell the Georgians: Does he accept Kanye West’s endorsement despite his divisive, racist and anti-Semitic remarks?

The Republican National Senate Committee has not commented on Ye’s support, whose the business empire is in tatters after Adidas and other companies cut ties over his repeated anti-Semitic comments.

In Nevada, the senses. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Jacky Rosen (D), who is Jewish, joined Jewish leaders on Monday in speaking out against anti-Semitism, including comments from the former Laxalt staffer first. reported Sunday by Jewish Insider.

A Laxalt spokesman, Brian Freimuth, first told Jewish Insider that the person was fired in August and not affiliated with the campaign. On Monday, he released a fuller statement, saying the “sectarian views” attributed to the former field rep do not reflect Laxalt’s views. He did not specify the circumstances of the dismissal and said that “Laxalt’s public and private life shows that he believes there should be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism in any form and any suggestion to the contrary. is a politically motivated lie”.

A Twitter user with the handle “LaxaltStan,” who at one point identified himself as a GOP political operative named Michael Pecjak, described Jewish people as part of a “cult”; retweeted an image of the words “I hate” and “Jews”; and suggested they were unhappy with a Breitbart editor’s comment that the right-wing website is “pro-Jewish with a reputation for treating women and minorities well”.

“I don’t know if I like Breitbart anymore”, LaxaltStan wrote beginning of October.

Jewish Insider said other now-deleted tweets claimed that “guns should have more rights than women” and that gay rights supporters are “going to hell.” The LaxaltStan account disappeared after the publication attempted to contact him for comment last week. Pecjak did not respond to requests for comment.

Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, president of the New York-based Center for Jewish History, warned that mass hate speech can lead to violence.

“I think the overheating of the rhetoric is getting worse and I think people are realizing that with the election only a week away and control of the House and Senate being at stake…people don’t see these statements like lightning in the pan. “, Rosenfeld said. “They see them as potentially being mobilized for nefarious political purposes.”

Sabrina Rodriguez contributed to this report.

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