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Gingrich’s Implicit Anti-Semitism In Primary Victory Remarks – OpEd


Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory speech, and ones he’s been giving for the past 20 years, offered a pointed reference to famed community organizer, Saul Alinsky.  Alinsky, who was Jewish, was the model who inspired the young Barack Obama when he first moved to Chicago and trained there as a community organizer.  Note the racism and implied anti-Semitism in the following passage from tonight’s peroration:

“The centerpiece of this campaign, I believe, is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky,” Gingrich said, as the crowd chanted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” “We are going to argue American exceptionalism, the American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the American federalist papers; the founding fathers of America are the source from which we draw our understanding of America. He draws his from Saul Alinsky, radical left-wingers and people who don’t like the classical America.”

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is replete with multiple references to the Founding Fathers and American constitution as the embodiments of liberty and democracy.  But note how he sets up Alinsky as a radical who is alien to America.  The final nail in the coffin is his reference to “classical America.”  Who or what is classical America?  It is of course white Christian America, everything that Saul Alinsky and many of you out there reading this are not.

This is a classic anti-Semitic diatribe gussied up in Tea Party rhetoric.  Given that Sheldon Adelson is Newt’s major money man, it makes me wonder whether Adelson will excuse this attack on a fellow Jew.   I have a strong suspicion that there is no ethnic solidarity for Adelson when it comes to Jews who betray their class as Alinsky did.  Which would only prove that Adelson doesn’t love all Jews, but only those on the far right like his other political pal, Bibi Netanyahu.  Adelson would explicitly reject the well-known dictum, kol yisrael erayvim zeh ba-zeh (“All Israel is bound up on in the other”).  The Las Vegas gambling magnate doesn’t embrace all Jews, only the right ones.

I’ve always thought it was a shame Gingrich’s name was Newt.  I think it’s far more appropriate to think of him as reptilian, than amphibian.

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

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Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

2 thoughts on “Gingrich’s Implicit Anti-Semitism In Primary Victory Remarks – OpEd

  • January 23, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Where’s the antisemitism? I don’t see it and I’m Jewish. I think you’re reaching or practicing wish fulfillment. Gingrich happens to be rock solid in support of Israel and that may be part of why Adelson likes him. Then again, you probably wouldn’t favor Gingrich’s support of Israel.

  • January 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Another commentator has pointed out, and I agree with him, That Gingrich is setting the stage to use my dad as his version of “Swift Boat.” Because not that many people really new who he was, Gingrich can create a boggy-man that was anti-American and anti-democratic. Unfortunately, this is a tactic that the Republicans love to use and unfortunately, it works if it is not stopped in its tracks.


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