Republican Anti-Semitism: Carl Paladino/Dean Skelos Edition
Racism and anti-Semitism rhetoric has become increasingly acceptable among the right wing. Intolerance has become an accepted value among all too many Republicans. The latest example of this is Republican nominee for NY Governor Carl Paladino. It seems this guy isn't just infamous for his racism and love for bestiality videos (I kid you not!) but also his anti-Semitism and trivializing the Holocaust.
From the Huffington Post:
"If I could ever describe a person who would fit the bill of an Antichrist or a Hitler, this guy is it," Paladino said. "I'm sure Chris had no -- absolutely no -- intention whatsoever of insulting the Jewish faith or the ethnic group or religion."--Carl Paladino
Of course this comes in addition to Paladino's blatant racism:
Paladino has sent emails that include:
# A popular video among white supremacists called "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal," that includes dancing African tribesmen.
# A video titled "Miss France 2008 fucking," that Paladino called "a keeper."
# An image of Barack and Michelle Obama dressed like a pimp and a prostitute, with the subject line, "White House ball."
# An image with the caption, "HOLY SHIT, run niggers, run."
# A bestiality video featuring a man and a horse.
Paladino's campaign manager, the strange and well-known liar Michael Caputo, of course blames the liberal media for focusing on Paladino's offensive slurs rather than facing up to the fact that Paladino owes all Jews and all WW II Veterans an apology for his stupid and offensive remarks: (also from the Huffington Post article)
If the liberal media or the left-wing government officials in Albany are offended by politically incorrect speech, they need to pull up their underpants and get ready for a very difficult ride.
But I think Paladino and the racist Republicans may be the ones in for a difficult ride because it really isn't the liberal media who is angry over this. It is the Jews Paladino insulted. The Anti-Defamation League (let's hear Michael "Liar Liar Pants on Fire" Caputo claim the ADL is liberal) has attacked Paladino's comments:
Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman sharply condemned Paladino's remarks in a call with the Huffington Post. "It crosses several lines. It's outrageous, it's insulting, it's offensive, it trivializes who and what Hitler was and did," he said. "To compare Sheldon Silver -- who also happens to be a practicing Orthodox Jew -- to an Antichrist and Hitler -- and Antichrist is borderline anti-semetic -- to compare him to Hitler is just beyond the pale.
I can only assume the ADL uses the term "Beyond the Pale" with full knowledge of its history and implications.
The frequency with which right wing extremists like Paladino and Caputo use the Hitler reference, and thus trivialize Nazism and the Holocaust and down play the sacrifice of America's WW II veterans, indicates to me that they long ago abandoned the Jewish vote. Today's Republican party would rather cater to racists and anti-Semites than to Jews or Hispanics or pretty much any other minority. And I think this is going to hurt them more than they think. These kinds of racist and anti-Semitic comments alienate voters in the long run. Few people really want to be associated with blatant and public intolerance. And some Republicans realize this and have distanced themselves from Paladino (e.g. Al D'Amato). But other Republicans have refused to distance themselves from Paladino and accept his racism and anti-Semitism with no objection. And this is being made an issue in some local races. Democrat George Sava has challenged Republican Dean Skelos to repudiate Paladino's offensive comments towards Jews and Skelos has refused to comment. From George Sava's campaign:
SKELOS FAILS TO REPUDIATE ANTI-SEMITIC, BIGOTED SLURS
Leader has obligation to decency in public discourse
“His silence proves Skelos will do anything to gain political power”
Nearly a week after giving his unconditional support to gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino, Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos still refuses to condemn anti-Semitic and racist comments made by the controversial candidate.
George Sava, Nassau County Senate candidate in the 9th SD, is calling on Skelos to unequivocally repudiate Paladino’s bigoted and intolerant behavior. “As the highest-ranking elected official from the Republican Party in New York and in the Senate, you have an obligation to uphold standards of decorum and decency acceptable in public discourse, and to condemn those who fail to do so,” George Sava said in a letter to Senator Skelos.
“Carl Paladino has repeated the most ancient and disgraceful libels which have been used to justify extreme acts of violence and persecution for centuries. Your failure to condemn him reinforces the belief that you have no principles and will do anything to gain political power,” Sava said. Last year, Skelos joined forces with disgraced senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate in a failed power grab that paralyzed state government.
Paladino has compared the Orthodox Jewish Speaker of the State Assembly Sheldon Silver to the anti-Christ and Hitler, a move that led the Anti-Defamation League and countless newspapers to denounce him as a bigot. Paladino has also sent emails using the vulgar racial slur against blacks, as well as misogynist and pornographic messages.
In a letter to Sen. Skelos (attached), George Sava writes “Immediately following Mr. Paladino’s primary victory, you unconditionally embraced his candidacy. Since then you have remained silent even as prominent members of your own party have repudiated his intolerable actions and comments. Your silence is troubling.”
I have not followed the Sava/Skelos race and cannot comment on Sava as a candidate, but in this case Sava is doing precisely the right thing: holding the Republican Party accountable for their open-armed acceptance of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism. Dean Skelos has expressed his FULL SUPPORT of someone who is anti-Semitic, racist and loves bestiality videos. By contrast, this is the sort of rhetoric used by George Sava (from his website):
Sava in 5 Towns Jewish Times: Our Shared History Holds Lessons For Today
The High Holy Days are a time to look forward to the new year, to reflect on the past, and to acknowledge shared heritage and traditions. Although I am an American of Greek heritage, I am fortunate to know and to have experienced the rich history and traditions of Judaism as an alumnus of Yeshiva University. As such, I would like to reflect on the close relationship between the Jewish and Greek peoples, and the lessons it holds for us today.
Since the time of Alexander the Great, Greece has been home to a vibrant Jewish community. The Jewish people prospered in Greece, living, working and owning property for 2,300 years.
When Spain expelled the Sephardic Jews in 1492, many settled in Thessalonika. The Jewish people thereafter prospered in all economic sectors.
This rich history took a tragic turn with the Nazi genocide of World War II. German S.S. occupiers quickly began deporting the Jews of Thessalonika to Auschwitz where they were murdered immediately. Nearly 98% of the Jewish population of Thessalonika and at least half the Jewish population of Athens died in the concentration camps.
Archbishop Damaskinos, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox people of Athens, demanded an end to the deportations. Damaskinos wrote a bold letter to the Nazi occupation authorities stating, “Our holy religion does not recognize superior or inferior qualities based on race or religion, as it is stated: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek’ and thus condemns any attempt to discriminate or create racial or religious differences.” The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation says Damaskinos’ appeal is unique; no similar document has come to light in any other European country. He went on to create and distribute thousands of false baptism certificates and identity papers, directed monasteries and convents to shelter Jews, and ordered his priests to ask their congregations to help their Jewish countrymen.
Even in the camps, the heroism of the Greek Jews is legendary. Many Greek Jews took part in the October 7, 1944 uprising at Auschwitz. They killed some twenty camp guards, burning them alive in the crematoria, then destroyed the building housing the death-furnaces. Before being massacred by the Germans, the fighters sang a song of the Resistance, and the Greek National Anthem.
As a Greek-American and a citizen seeking public office, I identify with this heritage and the lessons it holds for us today.
We all must have the courage to stand up for what is right, despite the odds. Furthermore, as the crimes of World War II slip from living memory, it is more important than ever that we never forget. I pledge that should I be fortunate enough to serve in the New York State Senate, I will sponsor resolutions honoring the heroic fighters of October 7, 1944 and embody in my service the dignity and leadership of our shared ideals.
Hateful, intolerant, stupid Republicans like Paladino and Skelos or articulate, intelligent and tolerant Democrats like George Sava...the choice seems obvious to me.