George Allen explores his family tree.

In a statement, George Allen claims to have just now discovered that he’s of Jewish ancestry. He says he knew that his grandfather had been persecuted by the Nazis, but that he never bothered to wonder why that might be, even after Bob Gibson wrote about his Jewish roots and he demanded a correction.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

10 replies on “George Allen explores his family tree.”

  1. Great minds think alike? Let me crosspost here a comment I have put on several other Virginia blogs tonight.

    1) both of Etty’s parents were Jewish, meaning she was Jewish, which means unless she were baptized (which even were she “raised” Christian is not necessarily the case) she is still halachicly Jewish, which would mean that by birth Allen is Jewish.

    2) Allen’s statement that he only learned of it from the Forward article is laughable. The issue had previously been raised by Bob Gibson of Charlottesville paper, who has said that Allen called him to complain. That means Allen was at least aware of the possibility at that time, and if he didn’t “know” it would have to be because he refused to explore further so that he could deny knowing. And I don’t buy it.

    3) He regularly makes reference to a grandfather who has a distinguised Jewish name being incarcerated by the Nazis. It is a reasonable question to ask if that gentlemen perhaps was incarcerated because of his being jewish, or even of jewish background – remember, conversion did not exempt you from the treatment received by the Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

    4) for all of his complaints yesterday, Allen has never hesitated to talk about his religion when he thought it would benefit him, thus in resorting to the First Amendment only when a question of Jewish heritage was raised is laughable and hypocritical.

    5) Allen’s press statement says he learned of the Jewish background as a result of the Forward article. But that was published several weeks ago. In describing his mother yesterday he continued to avoid including her Jewish background — he mentioned Italian, French and Spanish, but NOT Jewish — thus that statement yesterday and his acknowledgement that he has known as a result of the article shows his unwillingness yesterday to acknowledge his Jewish heritage.

    5) I hold no official position with the Webb campaign. I do volunteer for him. It was not in that capacity that around midnight I posted diaries at dailykos and raisingkaine that addressed this issue. I am of Jewish background, underwent bar mitzvah on my 13th birthday in May of 1959, but an a Quaker by persuasion, and thus am not Jewish religiously. Neverthless I took great offense at the way Allen used the phrase ‘casting aspersions’ in his reaction yesterday to the question – the only way it could be read was that to raise the issue of his (possible) Jewish background was to be casting aspersions on him. Thus any fair reader could well react that Allen thought that to have Jewish background was somehow demeaning or diminishing.

    It was about this which I wrote, and which you can read at dailykos here

    That Allen’s campaign now acknowledges what he tried like all getout to deny yesterday in no way changes the damage he did himself by how he handled the issue. LIke on macaca, he has changed his story several times. Perhaps he now has his story “straight” but I believe that his handling of it will continue to raise questions about him, not because the Webb campaign is raising them (it is not), but because the Allen campaign’s handling of these issues has been so inept. When John Podhoretz refers to the junior senator from Virginia as Macacawitz, you can see the damage he has done to himself.

  2. If grandpa Felix wasn’t incarcerated because he was Jewish, then it was most likely because he was a Socialist/Communist, homosexual or gypsy. Which one of these alternatives will the senator find more suitable?

  3. “Macacawitz,” LOL.

    Here’s a quote from today’s
    in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (via The Gadflyer):

    “…Allen said the disclosure is “just an interesting nuance to my background.” He added, “I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops.” ”

    Sounds like a shout-out to his good ole boy homies that while he may be Jewish, he’s not really Jewish.

  4. Brian – Or Catholic. Or part of some sort of resistance. People, let this go, his reaction was not due to his roots but to the inappropriateness of the question. Or does no one want to focus on the fact that Webb had no real responses on any of the issues?

  5. Character counts.

    By my count Allen has heckled a 20 year old Virginia born Webb staffer welcoming him to “America”; and just a couple days ago he goaded an audience on as it booed a journalist for asking a marginally relevant question. Neither the Webb staffer’s presence, nor the substance of the reporter’s question merited Allen’s response.

    If a candidate lacks the maturity to be a Senator, his stance on the issues is a secondary consideration. Mature views grow out of mature behavior.

    As far as Webb’s views go, it’s worth revisiting the Meet the Press interview. I’ve had a couple of fence-sitting friends come up to me over the past couple days and say that they are now strongly leaning towards Webb because he seems better informed and more thoughtful on national security issues.

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