George Allen, self-hating Jew
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports on the latest bizarre twist in the Virginia senate race, George Allen's public meltdown when asked about his Jewish heritage:
At a debate in Tysons Corner yesterday between Republican Allen and Democrat Webb, WUSA-TV's Peggy Fox asked Allen, the tobacco-chewing, cowboy-boot-wearing son of a pro football coach, if his Tunisian-born mother has Jewish blood.
"It has been reported," said Fox, that "your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"
Allen recoiled as if he had been struck. His supporters in the audience booed and hissed. "To be getting into what religion my mother is, I don't think is relevant," Allen said, furiously. "Why is that relevant -- my religion, Jim's religion or the religious beliefs of anyone out there?"
"Honesty, that's all," questioner Fox answered, looking a bit frightened.
"Oh, that's just all? That's just all," the senator mocked, pressing his attack. He directed Fox to "ask questions about issues that really matter to people here in Virginia" and refrain from "making aspersions."
Aspersions? Since when is Jewish heritage an aspersion?
The senator was raised as a Christian and self-identifies as Presbyterian. However, according to Milbank's article, Allen's mother Etty comes from a Sephardic Jewish family. If both Etty's parents were born Jewish, then Allen is Jewish in the eyes of rabbinic law. Allen's grandfather belonged to a prominent Jewish family and was imprisoned by the Nazis for being a resistance fighter.
Allen is awfully touchy about his mother's ethnicity. He has previously denied that his mother is Jewish, but now he acknowledges his mother's Jewish heritage.
Why the defensiveness? It's as if he thinks being Jewish is a very bad thing.
Of course, Allen wouldn't be the first Christian politician in America to have Jewish forbearers. Can you imagine John Kerry or Madeline Albright screaming at a reporter who asked questions about their Jewish heritage?