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The GOP's Jewish Slur
The Daily Beast ^ | 10/21/09 | Peter Beinart

Posted on 10/23/2009 1:07:07 PM PDT by nickcarraway

The Anti-Defamation League is up in arms over two South Carolina Republicans’ revival of an old stereotype. Peter Beinart asks: Is calling Jews thrifty really so offensive?

This week, in an act of vicious anti-Semitism, Edwin O. Merwin Jr. and James S. Ulmer, chairmen of the Bamberg County and Orangeburg County, South Carolina, Republican parties, respectively, co-authored an op-ed in which they accused Jews of taking good care of their money. “Jews who are wealthy,” they wrote, “got that way not by watching dollars but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves.” Then they compounded the offense by suggesting that South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint shares those Hebraic virtues. Local Democrats quickly called their statement “disgusting” and “unconscionable,” and demanded that they resign. Now Merwin and Ulmer are apologizing like their political lives depend on it, which, of course, they do.

Suggesting that Jews have prospered by cheating gentiles would indeed be anti-Semitic. But suggesting that Jews have disproportionately prospered because they’re honest and frugal, which is what Merwin and Ulmer suggested, is the exact opposite.

I share the outrage at this hate crime. In fact, in an act of solidarity, I too hereby apologize. For my entire life, at bar mitzvahs, around Shabbat tables, even while I was supposed to be davening in shul, I too have accused Jews of possessing good economic habits and prospering as a result. (Though, in my defense, I have never gone so far as to suggest that those good habits were shared by the GOP.) Speaking to Jewish audiences, I have repeatedly defamed my people by recounting Milton Himmelfarb’s famous line that “Jews earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.” The fact that my fellow Jews invariably reacted to this comment with laughter rather than calls to the Anti-Defamation League is a sign, I suppose, of how widely this cancer extends. Some listeners, I am duty-bound to report, even reprimanded me for suggesting that Jews only earn as much as Episcopalians when, in fact, they insisted, we surely earn more.

Given how widespread this form of anti-Semitism has become, even within the Jewish community itself, it is worth asking: What, exactly, did Merwin and Ulmer do wrong? They spread ancient and vicious stereotypes about Jews, of course. But where is the ancient and vicious stereotype? If it’s anti-Semitic to say that Jews have disproportionately prospered in the United States, then let’s condemn Nathan Glazer, Himmelfarb, and all the other sociologists who have studied the question. That Jews have disproportionately prospered in the United States happens to be manifestly true, which raises the question of why. Suggesting that they have done so by cheating gentiles—by prioritizing money over integrity, beauty, or patriotism—would indeed be anti-Semitic. That charge has gotten a lot of Jews killed over the millennia. But suggesting that Jews have disproportionately prospered because they’re honest and frugal, which is what Merwin and Ulmer suggested, is the exact opposite. It is, in fact, the most benign explanation for Jewish economic success. Which is why Jews generally favor it themselves.

I know the objection: It’s one thing for Jews to praise Jews, another for those outside the club to talk about this. But why, exactly? The reason it’s OK for Jews to say that Jews are financially savvy, presumably, is because Jews harbor no ill-intent. But there’s no reason to suspect that Merwin and Ulmer harbor any ill-intent either. As far as I know, neither has any history of hostility to Jews. Indeed, they hail from a Republican Party which, although not always kindly disposed to gays, Muslims, illegal immigrants, and atheists, is practically overflowing with philo-Semitism (affection toward Jews). And Merwin and Ulmer’s own statement was self-evidently philo-Semitic. If they weren’t praising Jews for their financial acumen, then why were they comparing Jews to their beloved Republican senator, Jim DeMint? Lurking behind controversies like this is the belief that we should assume ill-intent on the part of people who aren’t members of our club, and thus intimidate them into refraining from any generalizations whatsoever, even when those generalizations are meant as praise. For African-Americans, Native Americans, gays, or even women, perhaps—whose entire history in this country has been marked by structural bigotry—this cynicism, while regrettable, is understandable. To praise African Americans for being good at sports or music is indeed toxic given the harm that such stereotypes have done throughout American history. Thus, perhaps if Merwin and Ulmer were party bureaucrats in Latvia, I would be inclined to support muzzling their generalizations about Jews on the theory that we should always assume the worst. But to apply that logic in the United States is to deny the essence of the American Jewish experience, which is that state-sponsored anti-Semitism has been extremely rare. That history has earned American gentiles the assumption of goodwill. In a country that has treated Jews as well as this one, Jews should take pleasure in giving their fellow citizens the benefit of the doubt.

Peter Beinart, senior political writer for The Daily Beast, is a professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Politics/Elections; US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: adl; beinart; gop; jewish; sc2009; slur; southcarolina

1 posted on 10/23/2009 1:07:08 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Old story. Been addresse, with the conclusion that these to jerks are idiots.


2 posted on 10/23/2009 1:09:20 PM PDT by Marty62 (former Marty60)
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To: nickcarraway

I used to work with a Jewish guy who was as stereotypically frugal as you can imagine. I liked hanging with him because he really knew how to get his money’s worth, and get good stuff cheap / free. There’s nothing wrong with that Jewish stereotype - it’s actually something more of us should try to emulate. I wish I was able to be as careful with my money as he was.


3 posted on 10/23/2009 1:10:27 PM PDT by Hardastarboard (Maureen Dowd is right. I DON'T like our President's color. He's a Red.)
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To: nickcarraway

Personally, I pinch pennies so much that a booger comes out of Abraham Lincoln’s nose.


4 posted on 10/23/2009 1:12:17 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: nickcarraway

I know a wealthy Jew who started with one cab and took turns with his brother driving it. They now own a Transportation company. He is one of the most generous citizens in my home town. Many of our traditions would not be possible without his sponsorship.


5 posted on 10/23/2009 1:13:34 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: nickcarraway

I thought they were cheap, not thrifty. Can’t get a damn stereotype correct, I tell ya....


6 posted on 10/23/2009 1:14:46 PM PDT by montyspython ("I don't believe in 'no win' scenarios." - James T. Kirk)
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To: Hardastarboard

My one time Jewish boss was the bellweather of investments in reverse. He recommended the stock DEC when it was at its highest, just before it went all the way down. He recommended investments in real estate just before real estate tanked. You could always count on the guy!


7 posted on 10/23/2009 1:14:56 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: nickcarraway

This Jew(boy) thinks that these whiners protesteth too much. It’s a good aphorism that others would benefit from emulating...SSZ


8 posted on 10/23/2009 1:17:06 PM PDT by szweig (Had it up to here)
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To: Marty62
spell check is you re friend.
9 posted on 10/23/2009 1:17:41 PM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate taglines but I don't know how.)
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To: massgopguy

I know what you mean. Frankly I don’t know where this thing came from.


10 posted on 10/23/2009 1:18:59 PM PDT by Marty62 (former Marty60)
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To: VaRepublican

I know, bad habit of not checking. But I do give the spelling and punctuation police a lot of work.


11 posted on 10/23/2009 1:20:15 PM PDT by Marty62 (former Marty60)
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To: Revolting cat!
"Beware the advice of successful people. They do not seek company."

--Dogbert

12 posted on 10/23/2009 1:21:23 PM PDT by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: nickcarraway

Republicans are held to a higher standard than democrats. Anything a Republican says can be called racist, and broadcast in the media 24/7. Anything a democrat says, even racist, is called just a botched joke.


13 posted on 10/23/2009 1:21:55 PM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: nickcarraway

“What? Every party has their big Jews on the schedule.”

14 posted on 10/23/2009 1:22:04 PM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: VaRepublican

spell check is you re friend.

yes it is...


15 posted on 10/23/2009 1:23:18 PM PDT by ronnied
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To: massgopguy; All

I grew up in a city with many Jews. As a group, they were encouraging, friendly and took education as paramount. I would never leave a Jewish home hungry either. Why they vote 80% Democrat when their values (and even their long ago home, Israel) is trashed within that party, is a mystery that I will take to my grave.


16 posted on 10/23/2009 1:29:04 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged
Republicans are held to a higher standard than democrats. Anything a Republican says can be called racist, and broadcast in the media 24/7. Anything a democrat says, even racist, is called just a botched joke.

Great point.

As for the statements, I'm Jewish and wasnt the least bit offended.

17 posted on 10/23/2009 1:32:38 PM PDT by freespirited (Liberals are only liberal about sex & drugs. Otherwise, they want to control your life. --DHorowitz)
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To: Hardastarboard; nickcarraway; All
I used to work with a Jewish guy who was as stereotypically frugal as you can imagine. I liked hanging with him because he really knew how to get his money’s worth, and get good stuff cheap / free. There’s nothing wrong with that Jewish stereotype - it’s actually something more of us should try to emulate. I wish I was able to be as careful with my money as he was.

Have you ever heard of the Armenians? They're the people who buy from the Jews and sell to the Scots and still make a profit!

18 posted on 10/23/2009 1:38:38 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Vayhi hageshem `al-ha'aretz; 'arba`im yom ve'arba`im laylah.)
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To: Hardastarboard

I remember a good story about a Army lieutenant who met the unit chaplain. Noting the officer’s name on the uniform being Chinese origin, the chaplain bemoaned that when he was stationed in Taiwan, he admired how the Chinese valued education, strong family and hardwork and wished the average American was like the Chinese. The lieutenant reponded by saying that Americans do not have to be like the Chinese to have all these values, Americans need to be like the Americans of old who had Protestant work ethic, Yankee frugality and family values. In other words, American need to be REAL AMERICANS who built this nation. There is no need to look overseas for good values, all we need to do is return to those values we had in the past.


19 posted on 10/23/2009 1:39:30 PM PDT by Fee (Peace, prosperity, jobs and common sense)
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To: szweig

I just don’t get it. If I say someone is hard-working, intelligent, and practices sound economic common sense, wouldn’t they be flattered? Unless I’m conservative and say that about Jews.

When I grew up, my part of Indianapolis was home to most of the local Jewish community, they were my high school friends I hung out with. Great guys. I grew up next to a Catholic parochial school, most of my neighborhood friends were Catholic. (I’m your typical white suburban guy raised in the Lutheran Church). My brother married into an Italian family.

And my whole thought, all my life, has been: “So what?” Honestly, I just don’t see how people can take any of this crap seriously any more.


20 posted on 10/23/2009 1:46:08 PM PDT by henkster (0bamanomics: The "Final Solution" to America's "Prosperity Question.")
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To: nickcarraway

I think many Asians are intelligent, frugal and hard-working, outperforming people of other races in many endeavors. Does this make me anti-Asian? I actually get a chuckle from listening to blacks complain about how Asians can come to the U.S. with literally nothing more than the clothes they are wearing and quickly network and prosper better than blacks who have been in the U.S. their entire lives.

I guess that makes me a bigot. Oh, well.


21 posted on 10/23/2009 1:47:29 PM PDT by OrangeHoof ("Barack Obama" is Swahili for "Bend over suckahs".)
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To: nickcarraway

Never apologize to the permanently outraged.

If you’ve genuinely hurt someone’s feelings, and you’re genuinely sorry, then of course, by all means, take it back and do what you can to make it right.

If all you’ve done is put your foot ever-so-slightly in your mouth, and the only people who are offended are the ones who are always offended, then never ever take it back. Compound it with another joke and another even more outrageous comment. They’ll get tired of being mocked and you’ll enjoy it.

And if the press is beating the drum for your head? The press is always going to beat the drum for your head if you’re a genuine Repub, so get used to it, revel in it, celebrate it. And if you’re going to get burned at the stake, you want to go out big. Nobody respects a mealy mouthed milktoast. Not your friends and certainly not your enemies.


22 posted on 10/23/2009 1:50:04 PM PDT by marron
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To: henkster

People are touchy. The Civil Rights Movement was supposed to “integrate” society. Instead it has made us all even more touchy.”


23 posted on 10/23/2009 1:53:09 PM PDT by RobbyS (ECCE HOMO!)
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To: nickcarraway

What about the Scots and Dutch?

What is the definition of a copper wire?

Two Dutchmen fighting over a penny.

As related to me by a Dutch citizen on vacation here.


24 posted on 10/23/2009 1:54:10 PM PDT by doodad
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To: nickcarraway

Extraordinary how these leftists are suddenly so concerned about the Jews they’ve been betraying for the past several years!


25 posted on 10/23/2009 2:02:08 PM PDT by Oldpuppymax (AGENDA OF THE LEFT EXPOSED)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

LOL!!! Now that’s a businessman!


26 posted on 10/23/2009 2:32:40 PM PDT by Hardastarboard (Maureen Dowd is right. I DON'T like our President's color. He's a Red.)
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To: nickcarraway

27 posted on 10/23/2009 2:39:05 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (I refuse to "reduce my carbon footprint" all the while Lenin remains in an airconditioned shrine)
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To: henkster

I don’t recall any national outrage levelled at the DNC or the MSM when Al Sharpton stood up among the DNC candidates in the 2004 presidential campaign at the debates.


28 posted on 10/23/2009 2:40:27 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (I refuse to "reduce my carbon footprint" all the while Lenin remains in an airconditioned shrine)
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To: nickcarraway

My mom was not Jewish, but our relatives used to say that when it came to the family finances, she COULD “squeeze blood out of a turnip”; their way of saying she was good at “pinching pennies”. It was not an insult. It was a testament to how well she provided for us with so little. That’s nothing to complain about.


29 posted on 10/23/2009 3:36:20 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

Silly "controversy", I saw it it terms of thrifty, not cheap like the Dutch. But they should have known better. Racial/religious commentary like this will be turned against politicians. As to the ADL's rather nebulous contension that they need to understand the background of antisemitism, and how a comment like this will be misused, their rather long apology indicates they do.

30 posted on 10/23/2009 3:54:16 PM PDT by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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To: nickcarraway

Worrying about Politically Correctness is just plain STUPID. It make people into fearful speakers.

There’s nothing wrong about noting some trait of another culture when it’s not said with malice. There’s nothing racist about anything EXCEPT when one person believes that another culture, race, ethnicity, religion is BETTER than another.

So we can safely say Muzlems are racists when it comes to non-Muzlems.

Ah Ha. We have an insight. We have a charge we can get a Muzlem to admit to.

Q: Do you believe what the Koran says about Non-Muzlems?

Q{ Do you believe that the only true religion is Islam?

Q: Do you believe that the practice of Islam is better than the practice of any other religion?

Q: Do you believe that Muzlems are better than any one who practices another religion?

Similar questions until you can get the result which will lead you to state: Then by definition, you, as a Muzlem, are racist.


31 posted on 10/23/2009 7:19:55 PM PDT by HighlyOpinionated (Abortion-Euthanasia kills the very people for whom Social Justice is needed.)
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To: Marty62

“Old story. Been addresse, with the conclusion that these to jerks are idiots.”

Several jews are laughing at you, as am I.


32 posted on 10/23/2009 7:22:55 PM PDT by Harrius Magnus (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable)
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To: Harrius Magnus

And I should care..... WHY?


33 posted on 10/24/2009 7:08:52 AM PDT by Marty62 (former Marty60)
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To: nickcarraway

OMG!!! It’s a SLUR to say someone watched their pennies and took care of themselves???? OMG!! ARe we to say just the opposite??? That they don’t give a damn about themselves or their hard earned money???? STUPID....Jews are so damned senistive even when POSITIVE things are said!!! geesh, Louise.


34 posted on 10/24/2009 7:11:18 AM PDT by Ann Archy (18%)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

LOL!


35 posted on 10/24/2009 7:12:48 AM PDT by Ann Archy (18%)
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged
"Republicans are held to a higher standard than democrats. Anything a Republican says can be called racist, and broadcast in the media 24/7."

The same folks that get all worked up about the the comments from the Republican, are probably the same ones that will sit idly by as the BO administration sells out Israel.
36 posted on 10/24/2009 7:33:24 AM PDT by ThomasSawyer (Democratic Underground: Proof that anyone can figure out how to use a computer.)
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To: Marty62

I was teasing. sorry. I know better - that it doesn’t come through the keyboard well.


37 posted on 10/24/2009 9:14:20 AM PDT by Harrius Magnus (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable)
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To: Harrius Magnus

No Problemo!!!
Needed my 1st cup of coffee. LOL


38 posted on 10/24/2009 9:20:57 AM PDT by Marty62 (former Marty60)
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To: SJackson

The ADL’s a joke and always has been. They have hypersensitive feelers out for conservative American politicians, but utterly ignore the likes of Sharpton, Wright, Farrakhan and Ahmadenijad. The latter, of course, is understandable, because he’d probably use anything they said to his advantage. But nobody really takes them seriously, except for those conservative American politicians for whom they have these hypersensitive feelers out.

There is a difference between subtly shaded anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred. I have no use for an organization that only pays attention to the first and has no adequate response for the second.


39 posted on 10/24/2009 2:04:50 PM PDT by Eleutheria5 (www.publishedauthors.net/benmaxwell/index.html, http://sites.google.com/site/thevuzvuz/)
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To: Eleutheria5

I can’t add anything to the posts, other than to agree that the ADL is a bunch of whiners, just looking to slam Republicans for something, anything.

I will note that the “greedy” Jew sterotype is an old, hateful, sterotype utilized by the likes of Hitler, and the “frugal” Jew stereotype is a flattering, close relative, that utilizes the same basis for the ideas.

It’s easy to cross between the two.

So, while this is a tempest in a teapot, I would encourage others to stay away from these sterotypes, except about the Dutch. Those damn cheap squareheaded pricks would cheat their mother out of her wooden shoes for a tulip bulb.

;-)


40 posted on 10/26/2009 6:49:31 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: Jewbacca

That’s racist! I’ll tell the ADL on you.


41 posted on 10/26/2009 12:45:53 PM PDT by Eleutheria5 (www.publishedauthors.net/benmaxwell/index.html, http://sites.google.com/site/thevuzvuz/)
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To: nickcarraway

I didn’t read the article, but I will later on today.

I was just thinking about something that bugs me and a lot of you may think it’s odd also.

So, what’s odd? Jewish girls named “Ashley”. That’s strange stuff. Only gentile girls, preferrable blond with blue eyes and a slightly below average IQ should appropriately be named “Ashley”.

No Jewish girl should ever be named “Ashley”.


42 posted on 10/27/2009 1:30:01 PM PDT by BertWheeler (Dance and the World Dances With You!)
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To: SJackson
But they should have known better

I'll disagree with you, there.

Politicians ... and all the rest of us, for that matter ... must learn to tell the perpetually offended to shove it.

43 posted on 10/27/2009 1:37:29 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Jewbacca
It’s easy to cross between the two.

It's also possible to distinguish between the two, and the world would be a better place if more folks learned how.

44 posted on 10/27/2009 1:40:42 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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