Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Can you be Jewish and a racist?

The big news story in the Virginia Senate Race, is that incumbent Senator George Allen is Jewish. Last month the Jewish newspaper the Forward outed Allen for having a Jewish mother, only Allen didn’t know there was reason to be outed because he didn’t know he was even in. When he asked his 83-year-old mother if she was Jewish she admitted that she was, but made him promise not to tell anyone. Why did Senator Allen’s mother make him promise not to tell? Well as it turns out, “Allen’s maternal grandfather, Felix Lumbroso, was imprisoned by the Nazis when the Germans took over Tunis during World War II, and his mom, Henrietta “Etty” Allen, has said she was always fearful that her children might go through what she experienced” (Washington Post, September 22, 2006, C7).
To add to this story is the fact that although Allen’s mother who was raised in French-speaking Tunisia and converted to the Anglican faith, “Orthodox rabbis will tell you that Jewish identity is passed through the mother…(so) Allen could move to Israel and become a citizen” (Washington Post, September 22, 2006, C7).

So with all the questions surrounding Allen about his macaca comment, his Confederate flag lapel pin in college, and a noose once displayed in his office, I have to ask, Can a kid from California, with a Jewish/African-American mother whose grandfather was put in a concentration camp be a racist?


Blogger quakerdave said...

Go back to the story. He seems to have tried to deny his past before this. He also made some truly revolting comments about "Ham sandwiches" and whatnot when he was outed this past week.

He may not be an outright racist: it's hard to know what's in a man's heart. But, at best, he doesn't seem to get it, and at worst, he seems like a twit.

Sat Sep 23, 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

QD, I think you are referring to a recent debate where Allen denied being Jewish, but the article says that “Allen said his mom made him promise not to tell anyone that she was born Jewish, and that he was keeping his promise when asked about it during the debate” (Washington Post, September 22, 2006, C7). After the debate and after he denied it as a promise to his mother, but once the story was out, “he issued a statement saying he took ‘great pride’ in his Jewish heritage,” but added, “I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops” (Washington Post, September 22, 2006, C7).
But regardless, it must be tough at the age of 54 to find out that you are Jewish, that your mother was lying to you about it your whole life, that your grandfather was in a concentration camp for being Jewish, and to have to find it out in public like this because a magazine went digging into your personal life and published this article about his heritage.
But, the question still stands. Can you be both Jewish and a racist?

Sun Sep 24, 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Oncorhynchus Mykiss said...

Of course you can, thats ridiculous. You can be black and a racist (Rick Turner), why not Jew

Mon Sep 25, 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Rogue Mariner said...

Absolutely you can be jewish and racist. Being a member of a minority group does not mean you cannot be a racist. I've heard people talk about "reverse racism" before...what the crap is that? Racism is racism is racism.
I was very surprised to learn that he didn't know his heritage, but if his mother kept it from him, I guess that's what happens. I can't imagine not knowing your true heritage.
The ham sandwich comment was pretty stupid. He can't seem to get out of his own way sometimes.

Mon Sep 25, 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Alec said...

Your play on his mother being "African American" was cute. But if that is what passes for discourse, we have a major problem.

Jews racist? Israel's policies come to mind.

I find the implications of your question ironic, coming from a conservative. Is affirmative action no longer racist, because it benefits minorities? Is the Nation of Islam now a bening entity promoting racial harmony? It seems to invite one standard for a conservative senator accused of racist comments, and another for all others.

Mon Sep 25, 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Well alec, I do know a white girl from South Africa who considers herself African-American.

But I don’t think Israel is racist, they are not against another race, only a group of people who want to kill them. You don’t see Israelis dancing in the street when they hear about Muslims being killed in Iraq. You don’t see Israelis burning the Egyptian flag. What you do see is an attack on terrorist groups that have stated their goal is the eradication of Israel and the Jewish people. Israel is a group that has every reason to be “racist” if we consider Muslim a race, and yet they are not.
I was simply posing a question because how often do you hear of a Jewish racist?

Rogue, Allen was aware of at least a bit of his heritage because he did know that his grandfather was in a concentration camp, but he did not know it was for being Jewish. Of the 11 million people killed in concentration camps, 5 million were not Jewish, so I can understand how he might be led to believe his grandfather was there for other reasons. But, I still can’t imagine he would not take the time to ask.

Tue Sep 26, 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger sappho said...

Of course you can! Racism has many forms.

Tue Sep 26, 11:43:00 PM  

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