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Ron Nehring

State GOP acted decisively in blasting anti-Semitic Bay Area House candidate

Responding quickly to learning that a blatant anti-Semite had filed for Congress under the party’s banner in the Bay Area, the California Republican Party’s Board of Directors yanked John Fitzgerald’s default endorsement in the race for California’s 11th Congressional District.

Employing the bizarre tactic of attacking Jews using the platform of his campaign’s website, the CRP Board reviewed the candidate’s statements and swiftly determined he was not someone with whom the party would affiliate itself.

It’s interesting to note that in trying to explain away his brazen anti-Semitism, Fitzgerald in later posts on his site claims that he’s simply questioning the policies of the Israeli government. This is a common diversionary tactic anti-Semites use, characterizing their disdain for people of the Jewish faith as mere disagreement over Israeli government policy, or challenging the “Jewish lobby.”

Yet, this poor explanation doesn’t cover the fact that Fitzgerald’s smears against Jews start with the long debunked claim that Jews were somehow disproportionally involved with or played some kind of leading role in the African slave trade.  This alleged involvement goes back hundreds of years, well before the founding of the modern state of Israel. One can’t explain away spreading this smear under the guise of challenging the policies of a country which would not exist until David Ben Gurion would make his historic statement from what would become Independence Hall in Tel Aviv in 1948.

The anti-Semitic diatribes just go on from there, claiming America is being controlled by the all-powerful “Jewish lobby,” and so on. It’s the modern manifestation of smears that have persisted for years, such as the all powerful “bankers” (code for “Jews”) really control the world economic system, were responsible for the Great Depression, and the list goes on. Today’s anti-Semites perpetuate these smears while adding new ones, such as claiming that America’s involvement in Middle East conflicts is really the result of the “Jewish lobby,” and Israel.

The CRP Board of Directors saw right through this smokescreen and took the extraordinary step of blasting a Congressional candidate who chose to affiliate with the Republican Party.

Chairman Jim Brulte said in a statement, “Tonight, the California Republican Party’s Board of Directors took swift and decisive action to eliminate any support for John Fitzgerald due to anti-Semitic comments he made recently — those views have no home in the Republican Party. As always, California Republicans reject anti-Semitism, and all forms of religious bigotry, in the harshest terms possible. We reject John Fitzgerald’s campaign and encourage all voters to do the same.”

Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition said, “We absolutely and unequivocally condemn John Fitzgerald and his campaign for Congress. His anti-Semitic views have no place in our political system, and especially not in our Republican party. Fitzgerald is clearly has no grasp of the facts when it comes to the Jewish people, Israel and our nation’s relationship with the only democracy in the Middle East, and history in general. The California Republican Party has been a good ally in our fight against anti-Semitism in the past, and we proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them on their decision to reject support for Fitzgerald. “

Powerful and truthful words.  The state party deserves credit for its decisive action.  Someone could have argued that since Fitzgerald’s disdain for Jews had not yet hit the mainstream media, that the party risked drawing attention to the issue by acting.  That is not what happened — the good men and women who lead the CRP recognized the need to act swiftly and to speak plainly about this candidate and his brand of religious bigotry.

Unfortunately, with no credible alternative Republican candidate on the ballot in the 11th district, Fitzgerald will appear on the November ballot, where he will be crushed in this overwhelmingly Democratic district.

Good.

In the meantime, the California Republican Party has made clear that anti-Semitism has no place in our party.