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May 9, 2011

Gingrich’s Missteps Make Him Toxic to American Jews

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, Opinions

Originally Published in Politico’s Arena

By David A. Harris, President and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council

Newt Gingrich’s many missteps during his public life—including his leadership in orchestrating a government shutdown—help make him toxic to American Jews. Over just the last two years, both rhetorically and politically, Gingrich has been a symbol of how today’s Republican Party cannot be trusted to fight for the values of the vast majority of our community, as is the case with so many other communities.

Some of his most notable recent missteps include offensively charging that America is run by an “anti-Jewish elite;” frequently invoking the Holocaust to make political points—including in his recent book; comparing a proposed mosque near ground zero to a Nazi protest and bizarrely accusing President Barack Obama of having “Kenyan, anti-colonial” views.

Most American Jews of all political stripes expect a candidate to behave with at least some amount of integrity and civility. Gingrich offers none of that. And whether his behavior is genuine or an attempt to co-opt the extremist wing of the Republican Party, it certainly will not play well to the vast majority of American Jews.