Richard Silverstein

The ‘Gingrich Newt’: Less Amphibious, More Reptilian

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Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory speech, and ones he’s been giving for the past 20 years, offered a pointed reference to famed community organizer, Saul Alinsky. Alinsky, who was Jewish, was the model who inspired the young Barack Obama when he first moved to Chicago and trained there as a community organizer. Note the racism and implied anti-Semitism in the following passage from tonight’s peroration:

“The centerpiece of this campaign, I believe, is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky,” Gingrich said, as the crowd chanted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” “We are going to argue American exceptionalism, the American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the American federalist papers; the founding fathers of America are the source from which we draw our understanding of America. He draws his from Saul Alinsky, radical left-wingers and people who don’t like the classical America.”

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is replete with multiple references to the Founding Fathers and American constitution as the embodiments of liberty and democracy. But note how he sets up Alinsky as a radical who is alien to America. The final nail in the coffin is his reference to “classical America.” Who or what is classical America? It is of course white Christian America, everything that Saul Alinsky and many of you out there reading this are not.

This is a classic anti-Semitic diatribe gussied up in Tea Party rhetoric. Given that Sheldon Adelson is Newt’s major money man, it makes me wonder whether Adelson will excuse this attack on a fellow Jew. I have a strong suspicion that there is no ethnic solidarity for Adelson when it comes to Jews who betray their class as Alinsky did. Which would only prove that Adelson doesn’t love all Jews, but only those on the far right like his other political pal, Bibi Netanyahu.

Adelson would explicitly reject the well-known dictum, kol yisrael erayvim zeh ba-zeh (“All Israel is bound up on in the other”). The Las Vegas gambling magnate doesn’t embrace all Jews, only the right ones.

I’ve always thought it was a shame Gingrich’s name was Newt. I think it’s far more appropriate to think of him as reptilian, than amphibian.

This article comes courtesy of Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam.

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