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This Jew Doesn’t Accept Sean Spicer’s Apology Because I Remember the Past



Spicer’s Latest Comments Are a Throwback to Easter Pogroms of the 1800s

Any student of history – and particularly Jewish history – will know that the time around Passover and Easter and into the rest of the Spring and Summer was, for many centuries, a strange mix of religious euphoria and life-threatening fear. 

Passover is the Jewish holiday that celebrates liberation from slavery. It’s a time of pure happiness and gratitude as Jews focus on the miracle of freedom and redmption from the darkest moments of our collective history. And, from the 1800s through the middle of last century, (and probably earlier than that) it also marked the start of our darkest season. 

As Easter approached every year, Christians across Eastern Europe and Russia would terrorize – and even kill – Jews in the name of Jesus. The military or police never stepped in to stop them. Sometimes, they secretly (and even publicly) helped them. 

Why Easter? Ruth B. Bottigheimer explains:

For centuries, Christian churches all over the world taught children to hate Jews. Not only to hate them — but to justify their murder. They did so with one crucial choice: to tell the Gospel story in the words and the content of the book of Matthew rather than in alternate tellings by Mark, Luke, or John.

Matthew repeatedly used his telling of Jesus’ final days to exonerate Romans but to excoriate Jews for Jesus’ crucifixion. He magnified his vision of Jewish perfidy (choosing clemency for Barabbas, a murderer, rather than for Jesus) and violent Jewish unrest (leading Pilate to fear civic riot). He provided the historic justification for centuries of retaliation against Jews for Jesus’ death (Pilate washes his hands, tells the crowd to “see to it yourselves”), and provided the fateful formula, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

So when Sean Spicer gets on TV and parrots rhetoric used by Holocaust deniers to push the idea that Hitler “didn’t sink to using chemical weapons” while calling concentration camps that killed 11 million people (6 million of them Jews) with Zyklon B gas,  “Holocaust Centers,” red flags went up across the world.

To add insult to injury, many of us Jews strictly observe the holiday and spent our mornings in synagogue services and the rest of the first (and second, for some) day offline and purposefully disconnected from the world, so we weren’t able to join the conversation or speak out against his statements until now.

This has been quite a conversation to come back to. 

For his part, Spicer attempted to clarify his statements, issuing an absurd number of revisions and eventually apologizing (badly).

For me, Spicer’s apology rings hollow, for many reasons.

Spicer first called Jewish mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to apologize before apologizing to the rest of the world, as though Adelson speaks for all Jews (he doesn’t) or as if any of us care about his opinion (we don’t). Spicer’s apology to Adelson is a hallmark of anti-Semitic behavior. If/when Adleson forgave him, Spicer would be able to say, “See! This Jew thinks what I did was fine, so clearly I don’t hate ALL Jews! I can’t be anti-Semitic if I have a Jewish friend!” 

Plenty of folks lined up to be the administration’s token Jew – even though that role is already filled by Jared Kushner – including former George W. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, and some Jews even spoke out in support of Spicer’s comments, furthering the idea that Jews aren’t ever full citizens of a country where they live because Jews are both a religion and a ethno-nation unto ourselves.

That’s literally the kind of talk that historically gets Jews kicked out of wherever we’ve lived – and we’ve been kicked out of just about everywhere. 

I don’t need to explain just how damaging this can be to Jews – history has already shown that. And history has shown, over and over, how people can be persuaded into ignoring warning signs in favor of keeping quiet for the sake of not making waves. 

Because many Jewish folks were offline observing Passover, a majority of the voices in the conversation weren’t Jewish. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway wrote a very long piece explaining that Spicer just made a mistake – nevermind that he parroted the exact same language Holocaust deniers use – he just made a mistake, and we’re worrying too much. Because if there’s anyone who knows what types of anti-Semitism we should or should not be worrying about, it’s definitely someone who’s never experienced anti-Semitism, right?

God help me if I ever take religious – or life – advice from The Federalist. 

When it comes down to it, it really is possible that Sean Spicer just made a mistake. In his defense, he’s incredibly bad at his job. To fully understand why his comments, matter, though, we have to look at the bigger picture:

One occurrence is a mistake. Two is a slip-up. Spicer’s comments were just another in a long set of anti-Semitic dog whistles and rhetoric. That they came on the first day of Passover and following a pattern of hundreds of years of anti-Jewish violence is no coincidence.

Follow Robbie Medwed on Twitter: @rjmedwed

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Acting Speaker McHenry Did Not Have Authority to Evict Pelosi Says Top Rules Committee Democrat



U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Kevin McCarthy’s hand-picked temporary successor and acting Speaker, operated outside of carefully crafted House rules when he evicted Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the former Democratic Majority Leader, from their Capitol Hill offices just hours after Republicans ousted McCarthy as Speaker.

That’s according to the top Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA), who previously served as the Chair of the Rules Committee. He says the “Speaker pro tempore” has one job only: help elect a new Speaker of the House.

“I want to clear up some confusion,” McGovern wrote late Wednesday afternoon.

“As an unelected acting Speaker pro tempore, @PatrickMcHenry’s job is to guide the House toward the election of a new Speaker. That’s it.”

“His power is constrained by the plain text of Rule 1, Clause 8 of the Rules of the House,” said McGovern.

READ MORE: ‘My Job Is Not to Put Pool Noodles Around Hard Corners for Republicans’: AOC Blasts Critics Over McCarthy Vote

Rep. McGovern said he is “alarmed” by McHenry’s order evicting Pelosi and Hoyer.

“Given the plain text of the rule, I don’t think he has that power,” McGovern added.

McGovern further explained, “The rule says he can only exercise as much authority as is ‘necessary and appropriate’ towards the end of electing a Speaker. The Rules Committee narrowly described this rule in 2004: an acting Speaker pro tempore serves ‘for the sole purpose of electing a new Speaker.'”

“These rules were put into place after 9/11 to ensure continuity of government & quick election of a new Speaker in an emergency. Not to provide for a short-term Speaker due to Republican dysfunction,” concluded McGovern, who has served in Congress since 1997.

READ MORE: Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately

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‘My Job Is Not to Put Pool Noodles Around Hard Corners for Republicans’: AOC Blasts Critics Over McCarthy Vote



U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted critics across the political spectrum who are angered House Democrats did not vote to keep Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, after Republicans ousted him on Tuesday.

“Contrary to how McCarthy’s defenders are behaving, men failing up is not a Constitutionally protected right,” Ocasio-Cortez said on social media. “The man made risky decisions and faced the natural consequences of them. I am not his mom, and my job is not to put pool noodles around hard corners for Republicans.”

AOC also blasted 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who is now a former Democrat, after he criticized Democrats on CNN.

READ MORE: Karine Jean-Pierre Schools Peter Doocy for Asking if White House Is ‘Loving’ GOP House Chaos

“Why did Dems vote along party lines to oust Kevin McCarthy? Not because they thought it was good for the country but because that’s what they were told to do,” Yang said on social media when posting his remarks.

“Yes,” Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez responded, “because strengthening someone who voted to overturn the election, held the entire US economy hostage, launched a baseless impeachment inquiry without a vote, and refuses to honor his word is what is in the best interest of this country.”

“Do some of you hear yourselves?” she asked rhetorically.

READ MORE: Pelosi Strikes Back After New House GOP Leadership, in Act of ‘Revenge’ Immediately Targets Top Democrats

Tuesday night she also defended Democrats for not, as some have put it, “saving” McCarthy.

“Does anyone believe for one minute that McCarthy would help elect a Dem speaker ‘for the institution’?” she asked. “McCarthy’s hubris is a theme. He loudly stated he wouldn’t negotiate w/Dems, called virtually none, trashed those who helped w/CR, and then expected Dem votes for free?”

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Karine Jean-Pierre Schools Peter Doocy for Asking if White House Is ‘Loving’ GOP House Chaos



In the middle of an interview with U.S Senator John Kennedy, Fox News interrupted the Louisiana Republican for some “breaking news,” as the right wing cable network’s Peter Doocy began to ask White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the chaos far-right wing Republicans caused by ousting Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday.

“All right. Senator, thank you for joining us. We got a little bit of breaking news here. We got to jump back to the briefing. Our Peter Doocy is questioning the Press Secretary,” John Roberts told viewers as the camera cut to the White House Press Briefing Room.

“Is any part of the West Wing here, just loving the fact that Republicans don’t appear to be able to govern the one part of the government that they actually control?” Doocy asked.

“Nobody’s ‘loving’ anything when it’s when we’re not when we’re not able to deliver for the American people. Nobody’s loving that,” Jean-Pierre replied, as she explained to Doocy what the White House believes is actually important.

READ MORE: Jim Jordan, a ‘Significant Player’ in Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Election Results, Running for Speaker of the House

“It is important for Congress to work, not for us, but on behalf of the American people. It is important to make sure that we meet the challenges of the American people. That’s what’s important. What we saw, you heard from the President, what we saw on Saturday should have never have happened, but we’re glad that a deal was made. We’re glad that we’re not in a shutdown. But House Republicans should have never gotten us that far.”

Jean-Pierre went on to tell Doocy that since Republicans “are the majority in the House, they can fix this.”

“They’re creating the chaos. That is not helpful to the American people.”

“That’s why you saw the President today talk about student debt relief, and talk about what else he’s doing to make sure that we’re giving a little bit of breathing room to the American people. That’s why you heard from the President yesterday talking about or our announcement, talking about how we’re continuing to beat Big Pharma so we can lower prescription drug costs for the American people. That’s what the President cares about. That’s what he wants to see – what can we continue to do to help Americans as they face really tough challenges? So this is not, we’re not loving it. It is not helpful to any any American across the country.”

READ MORE: Pelosi Strikes Back After New House GOP Leadership, in Act of ‘Revenge’ Immediately Targets Top Democrats

Doocy, went on to ask if “anybody in the West Wing has heard anybody talking about the possibility of ‘Speaker Trump.'”

Watch below or at this link.


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