US Politics
on 22 Comments

Several media outlets have now telegraphed the claim that Ron Paul is anti-Semitic. The New York Times said Paul has support from people with “anti-Jewish” views, and later equated anti-Zionism with white supremacism. This Daily Beast piece by rightwinger Michael Medved said Paul’s newsletter was “studded” with anti-Semitism, making him “untrustworthy when it comes to the serious business of governance.” This Tablet piece by Marc Tracy yesterday began:

“As a Jew, I hope Rep. Ron Paul does not win today’s Iowa caucuses. This isn’t about policy differences, although certainly, say, the Republican Jewish Coalition found enough simply in Paul’s policies—his support for a more isolationist stance, including reducing aid to Israel, and his total lack of concern for Iran’s race to build nuclear weapons—to condemn him. It is the publication in the 1990s of newsletters, under his name and reportedly written by a close adviser, that trafficked in racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism (greatest hits here [link to New Republic]), combined with his refusal to treat this fact as something serious rather than a bugaboo trumped up by his enemies and the mainstream media, or to acknowledge that he was aware of the newsletters’ contents and defended them. It’s his rantings about the Trilateral Commission. It’s comparing Gaza to a concentration camp. You can make a case that President Obama is wrong on Israel, but you can’t in good faith argue that he is motivated by anti-Jewish animus. Ron Paul, by contrast, is not one of our friends….”

“Not one of our friends” suggests the degree to which Paul touches on traditional fears inside the Jewish community of populist politicians. Melvin Urofsky, the historian of American Zionism, touches on this fear in “We Are One! American Jewry and Israel” (1978):

“A four-year study by the Anti-Defamation League released in April 1969 reported a far higher level of lingering anti-Semitism than many analysts had expected…. 37 percent of the American people still retained negative images of Jews [they’re international bankers, or clannish, powerful, ambitious]… Should there be a severe economic dislocation, the survey found, more than 50 percent of the respondents would vote for an anti-Semitic candidate.”


And of course, Philip Roth fantasized about an anti-semitic presidential campaign in his Lindbergh novel, The Plot Against America (2004).

How much of this is paranoia? How much of it historically-justified? Jerry Slater and I are probably going to have a dialogue about this in weeks to come…

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22 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 4, 2012, 1:31 pm

    One would think he would have said “American Jew” Obama is wrong for demanding that Israel abide by international agreements and Un resolutions and stop building illegal settlements in the West Bank and E Jerusalem…that is being a friend to Israel

  2. PeaceThroughJustice
    January 4, 2012, 1:45 pm

    “Jerry Slater and I are probably going to have a dialogue about this in weeks to come…”

    Be sure to ask him how he distinguishes an “antisemite” from someone who finds some of the ideas of Jewishness unappealing, or socially harmful.

    • Newclench
      January 4, 2012, 4:40 pm

      Since there is not a single Jewish idea that (some) other Jews don’t find harmful/disagreeable, I don’t think you need to look for a defining line. But when you use such a position to take a stand against the community or ‘the’ religion itself, then you are being an A.S.
      Above all, don’t fall for the trap of reducing Jewish identity to religious faith.

      • MRW
        January 4, 2012, 8:56 pm


        Is there a rule-book somewhere of all the things non-Jews are not supposed to say to avoid being considered an A.S.?

        Could you clear it up for us? Or is complaining about shifting the goal-posts A.S. as well?

  3. CloakAndDagger
    January 4, 2012, 1:49 pm

    I, for one, am ecstatic that Ron Paul is flushing all these discussions out into the open. Let the chips fall where they may. This will be wonderful for opening the eyes of Americans to the real issues that have been under the covers for so long.

    • MRW
      January 4, 2012, 8:58 pm

      Huffington Post just reported that 5.4% of Iowa voters came out to caucus.

      I wonder how many write-ins there are going to be on November 2012.

  4. Dan Crowther
    January 4, 2012, 2:20 pm

    “As someone who likes Coke, I hope Rep Paul – who likes Pepsi- does not win”

    That is about as serious as I am going to get with this nonsense. And it probably more accurately describes Tracy’s “jewishness” – your dad drinks coke, you drink coke. Your dad roots for the red sox, you root for the red sox. Reading some of these clowns is like reading a sports fan blog.

  5. Bill in Maryland
    January 4, 2012, 2:27 pm

    One of Marc Tracy’s objections to Ron Paul listed in the Tablet piece, the comparison of Gaza to a concentration camp, comes from an interview conducted on January 5, 2009 while Operation Cast Lead was still underway with the full endorsement of George W. Bush/Condoleezza Rice. If one listens to all of Congressman Paul’s comments in this brief interview (2:59), one must admire his wisdom and courage on this particular topic. Easier for Marc Tracy to smear Ron Paul than to deal with the powerful substance of his thoughtful and persuasive analysis.

    • john h
      January 4, 2012, 5:51 pm

      Agreed. Thanks Bill, I hadn’t seen this interview.

      Unlike other politicians, Paul doesn’t change, just simple and direct and sensible. He has his own views, unaffected by MSM or AIPAC or his own party, and developed them a long time ago.

      This voice in the wilderness is now being heard by more and more.

    • kalithea
      January 4, 2012, 9:15 pm

      The COWARD President-elect Obama at the time deferred to Bush when asked to comment on the slaughter happening in Gaza, but Ron Paul had the GUTS to stick his neck out knowing full well it might compromise him in a future run for the Presidency.

    • yourstruly
      January 5, 2012, 9:21 am

      these israel-firsters go crazy at the comparison of gaza to the warsaw ghetto because it’s true. something about the truth hurting?

  6. pabelmont
    January 4, 2012, 2:53 pm

    And ask JS (or anyone else) why the ADL DEEMED the following to be “negative images of Jews” — namely — “they’re international bankers, or clannish, powerful, ambitious.”

    Aren’t all these pro-Israel folks clannish? Aren’t they protecting and loving and spending their time concerned about — the clan? Aren’t they exerting every muscle they have, with accusations of self-hating when needed, to make sure that all Jews are members of this pro-Israel clan? They are working night and day to tie people to a clan and take offense when Jews are thought to be clannish?

    Perhaps they like (even demand) the fact of clannishness, but dislike and therefore denounce the recognition (or accusation) of the fact.

    Are people (who profess to find A-S under every rug) (and who probably think that people are anti-Black who believe that people of African heritage have curly black hair, a stereotype if ever there was one) unaware of the “My son the doctor” trope, and is not a mother ambitious who wants her son to be a doctor? To say nothing of the son? And what’s wrong with being ambitions? Are not, for instance (just one instance, mind) POLITICIANS, like medical students, as a class ambitious? And if international bankers are so bad, why’d the USA bail them all out (and still doing it with dollar-euro swaps)?

    Dear ADL: I don’t think those were negative images of Jews at all. I think they were stereotypes. Not the same thing at all. If you think I’m wrong, show me the way.

  7. MRW
    January 4, 2012, 3:51 pm

    Re: Marc Tracy

    the Republican Jewish Coalition found enough simply in Paul’s policies—his support for a more isolationist stance, including reducing aid to Israel, and his total lack of concern for Iran’s race to build nuclear weapons—to condemn him

    The Republican Jewish Coalition? You kidding me? Those racist whack jobs in bed with the Yisrael Beitenu party in Israel and Avigdor Lieberman who are spreading (and financing the spreading of) anti-Muslim hatred in this country? Read all about these fruitcakes:

    “It is the publication in the 1990s of newsletters, under his name and reportedly written by a close adviser, that trafficked in racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism”

    Yeah, the close advisor was Jewish.

    “It’s his rantings about the Trilateral Commission.”


    “It’s comparing Gaza to a concentration camp.”

    It is.

  8. kalithea
    January 4, 2012, 10:06 pm

    Okay, there are lots of grammatical errors in my previous post. I’m tired and frustrated, but I needed to get this out because an injustice is being done to Ron Paul and I don’t want him to end up like everyone else who challenges what they believe are iron-clad privileges and institutions and have their careers ruined as a result. It’s one thing to challenge these sacred cows and it’s quite another to be considered a racist for daring to do so or even question their necessity!

    Anyway try to look beyond the errors.

    If there’s one thing Ron Paul may be guilty of and I certainly don’t judge him is trusting people to behave responsibly in his name or on his behalf. But what alternative is there? You can’t be looking over everyone’s shoulder all the time; you sometimes have to delegate and hope for the best. But he’s been so honorable, I don’t know, maybe honorable isn’t the right word, in not fingering the author responsible. I don’t believe it’s a question of protecting the people who screwed up writing incendiary comments in his name, I think it’s more like he’s not a person who rats on people. He repudiates their comments but then doesn’t throw them under the bus and expects everyone to move on. He doesn’t seem comfortable criticizing associates or former associates. Sure he could have said: well this is a person who worked for me or rendered services which were helpful to me, a person I trusted, but who perhaps was a loose cannon at times…I don’t know, you get my drift. It’s not a comfortable spot to be in talking badly about someone who at some point may have helped you in your career.

    But primarily, I believe this is an EXCUSE, a club to use against him when its convenient to arrest his momentum. It’s a dirty tactic on the part of those who are protecting SOMETHING ELSE and are dishonest about their real motives for attacking this man and especially silencing him.

    Anyway, this is how I see this newsletter outcry.

  9. Oscar
    January 4, 2012, 10:31 pm

    The israel-first neocons will demonize Ron Paul because his presidency will mean the end of the $3 billion annual check Uncle Sam cuts to Israel on an annual basis. Ron Paul makes the Zionists nuts, and if you read the comments on the medved article, you’ll see how the shrill dog whistle of “anti-semitism” is long in the tooth and no longer effective, having long ago been run into the ground by the neoclowns.

  10. piotr
    January 4, 2012, 11:00 pm

    Of course Ron Paul is anti-Semitic. Jews are to such an extend allied with Zionism that opposition to Zionism is basically anti-Semitic (and so is equating Jews with Zionism if done by a non-pro-Zionist, and apparently, adherence to logic). Now, Zionism is a version of statism, so anarchism and libertarianism are anti-Semitic. Jewish adherents of those ideologies are self-hating.

    Now we are discussing a GOP primary and we discover that — wonders never cease — that one of the candidates was associated with homophobes. One? How about, say, Santorum? One may also wonder about a religious denomination that claim that descendants of 10 tribes of Israel migrated in Antiquity to America where they became extict. Can Jews trust a Mormon?

    The crime of comparing a concentration camp to a concentration camp is indeed a serious matter. Ron Paul is not a 5 year old who can be excused for shouting “the kind is naked”. Adults should know better.

  11. john h
    January 5, 2012, 12:36 am

    Just saw this idiot (Bashir) tell us that Ron Paul doesn’t want to be president,

    which is why he can say what he does; if you don’t have a prayer you can say whatever comes to your mind..

    Paul has been saying the same things for at least 20 years. He says what comes to his mind because he really means it, and he can say it because nobody scares or intimidates him. He is his own man, unlike the other pretenders.

    One comment takes the cake:

    “Wise men (Dr. Paul) speak because they have something to say; Fools (Mr. Bashir) because they have to say something.”

    Thank you, Plato..

  12. unVet
    January 5, 2012, 8:26 am

    If anything, we need more “anti-Semites” like Ron Paul. In 1988, the chair of Ron Paul’s first presidential campaign was Burton Blumert. Two people who were very important in Ron Paul’s life were Murray Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises. Walter Block has formed the organization Jews for Ron Paul. His video is here:

    Here are a couple of videos with “self-hating” black Americans who support Ron Paul:

    Justin Raimondo’s January 2008 take down on the newsletter attacks of that time can be found here:

    In his autobiography, Russell Means, who ran for the 1988 LP presidential nomination against Ron Paul, stated, that as a group, libertarians are the most tolerant people he has come across. Bigotry and libertarianism do not mix. Ron Paul is not an anti-Semite or a racist in any shape or from PERIOD

    Not related to the bigotry charges, but this video is amazing to watch for its self-censorship:

  13. lysias
    January 5, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Look at the attack on Paul (and on Romney and Santorum for saying they would vote for him if he got the nomination) in the Daily Forward: The GOP’s Albatross.

  14. CloakAndDagger
    January 5, 2012, 7:14 pm

    On the Ron Paul news letters:

  15. jayn0t
    January 7, 2012, 12:02 am

    On Philip Roth’s novel about Lindbergh, see my review here:

    It’s a revealing book. Roth thinks war is peace, so he can’t see the contradiction in calling Lindbergh’s allegation, that American Jews tended to be in favor of war against Germany, anti-Semitic, at the same time as confirming the essential truth of the claim.

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