Con­gress­man hints at racist ‘dark side’ of GOP

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY NATHALIE ROTH­SCHILD

RE­CENT COM­MENTS by Eric Can­tor, the sole Jewish Re­pub­li­can serv­ing in the US Congress, have been widely in­ter­preted as sug­gest­ing that the Grand Old Party has a se­ri­ous prob­lem with an­tisemitism.

Asked at an event or­gan­ised by Politico, the po­lit­i­cal news out­let, whether or not he has de­tected an­tisemitism among mem­bers of Congress, Mr Can­tor said he did not want to talk about “the darker side” of the party.

Pushed to elab­o­rate, he said: “I think that all of us know that in this coun­try, we’ve not al­ways got­ten it right in terms of racial mat­ters, re­li­gious mat­ters, what­ever.

“We con­tinue to strive to pro­vide equal treat­ment to ev­ery­body. To sit here and say in Amer­ica that we’ve got it all right now… I think that pretty much all of us can say that we’ve still got work to do.”

The ques­tioner, Politico’s Mike Allen, pressed on: “We’re talk­ing about the House Re­pub­li­can Cau­cus, not Amer­ica.” Mr Can­tor shrugged his shoul­ders, choos­ing to re­main s i l e nt r at her than deny that

Eric Can­tor

there is anti-jewish sen­ti­ment in the Re­pub­li­can ranks.

The ex­change fol­lowed Politico’s re­cent re­port that Mr Can­tor’s an­i­mos­ity to­wards a veteran GOP rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Don Manzullo, could be traced back to his years-old com­ment that Mr Can­tor, an ob­ser­vant Jew, would not be “saved”.

Last month, Mr Can­tor helped ris­ing Re­pub­li­can star Adam Kinzinger top­ple Mr Manzullo in an Illi­nois pri­mary.

The Na­tional Jewish Demo­cratic Coun­cil in­ter­preted Mr Can­tor’s re­marks at the Politico event as “an as­ton­ish­ing but bru­tally hon­est ad­mis­sion” about “the chal­lenges of an­tisemitism and racism con­fronted within the House Re­pub­li­can cau­cus”.

NJDC pres­i­dent and CEO David A Har­ris claimed that there are “deep-seated prob­lems” with an­tisemitism within the GOP, in­clud­ing “wide­spread use of abu­sive Holo­caust rhetoric”. West Virginia Re­pub­li­can Se­nate Can­di­date John Raese re­cently com­pared smok­ing re­stric­tions to Nazi poli­cies. He said “…in Monon­galia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my build­ings to say this is a smoke-free en­vi­ron­ment… Hitler used to put Star of David on ev­ery­body’s lapel… Same thing.”

PHOTO: AP

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