How the GOP Scares Jews

Primary sources exposed and explained.
Oct. 28 2008 5:15 PM

How the GOP Scares Jews

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"We did not write this letter to scare you," the Republican Party of Pennsylvania assures 75,000 in-state Jewish voters in an e-mail sent out Oct. 23. But "in the 5,769 years of our people, there has never been a more important time for us to take pro-active measures in order to stop a second Holocaust." Care to guess which presidential candidate the Pennsylvania GOP judges most likely to bring on Holocaust II?

"Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake," the e-mail intones. "Let's not make a similar one this year" (Page 2). Signed by three of the state's most prominent Jewish Republicans, the e-mail goes on to suggest that Barack Obama's worldview is somehow sympathetic to that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, driving home the point by quoting Ahmadinejad's famous characterization  of Israel as a "stinking corpse" that should be "wiped off the face of the earth." It also quotes Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef praising Obama: "We hope he will [win] the election."

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But don't be scared!

The Pennsylvania Republicans neglect to mention in their e-mail that three days before their message went out, al-Qaida endorsedtheir candidate, John McCain. The Republicans also state, erroneously, that Obama "taught members of Acorn to commit voter registration fraud" (he didn't) and that Obama is "associated with" William Ayers, who "thought the terrorists didn't do enough on 9/11." Ayers, whose connection to Obama is slight, told the New York Times that he, as a former member of the violent Vietnam-era protest group the Weather Underground, "didn't do enough." That interview was published on Sept. 11, 2001, but was conducted well before that day's terrorist attack.

The McCain campaign has disavowed the letter, and two of the signatories—Sandra Schultz Newman, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, and I. Michael Coslov, a steel-industry executive—did the same after it made headlines. The third signatory is Mitchell Morgan, a Philadelphia-area fundraiser for McCain and other Republicans. Although the letter carried a "paid for by Republican Federal Committee of PA—Victory 2008" disclosure (Page 2), the state party's communications director told the AP that it did not authorize the e-mail and that it has fired the campaign strategist who created it. The strategist, Bryan Rudnick, insists that he received several levels of approval to send the e-mail but won't name names.

Thanks to JTA for posting the e-mail.

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