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Eliot Spitzer and Anti-Semitism - The Dog that Didn't Bark:

Until his recent downfall, Eliot Spitzer was one of America's most prominent Jewish politicians. Yet his Jewishness has been almost completely absent from the public debate occasioned by his disgrace and resignation. Pundits haven't been pontificating about the implications of Spitzer's downfall for the future of Jewish participation in politics. No one of any consequence has claimed that his misdeeds reflect badly on Jews as a group. And Spitzer himself hasn't tried to "play the anti-Semitism card" by claiming that the feds targeted him because he is Jewish. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, the absence of anti-Semitism from the discussion of Spitzer is a crucial dog that didn't bark.

The lack of focus on Spitzer's Jewishness is all to the good. It shows that both the political elite and the general public broadly accept the role of Jews in public life and that anti-Semitism has largely been marginalized in mainstream political discourse. That marginalization, in turn, helps ensure that Jews are unlikely to rally to a Jewish public figure accused of wrongdoing if he makes unsubstantiated claims of being a victim of anti-Semitism. That may be one of the reasons why Spitzer didn't try to use anti-Semitism as a defense. Obviously, anti-Semitism hasn't disappeared in America. But it has been reduced to relative insignificance.

Unfortunately, however, we haven't advanced quite as far with respect to some other minority groups. Had an equally prominent black or Hispanic politician landed in the same kind of fix as Spitzer, it is highly likely that his race would be a major part of the discussion. Pundits would grouse about the implications of the scandal for black leaders more generally. And the politician himself might well play the race card in order to defend himself. The reasons for this are understandable. We have not overcome racism and its legacy to the same degree as we have with anti-Semitism. As a result, public discourse focuses on race far more than on Jewish-gentile differences. And blacks are understandably more suspicious of efforts to prosecute the alleged misdeeds of black leaders than Jews are of similar efforts with respect to Jewish ones.

However, the Spitzer case does offer a measure of hope. If this scandal had occurred just a few decades ago, Spitzer's Jewishness would have been a much larger part of the discussion, and that discussion would have been vastly more poisonous. In time, we may be able to achieve the same sort of progress in race relations. As flawed as they are, race relations today are still much better than twenty or thirty years ago. In time, if we are lucky, a public figure's race might become just as insignificant as Spitzer's Jewishness is today.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Jews, Blacks, and Political Power:
  2. Eliot Spitzer and Anti-Semitism - The Dog that Didn't Bark:
  3. It's the Sex, Stupid:
Bender (mail):
I'm not sure that race would have played out any differently. The current mayor of Detroit and his aide -- who are both African-American -- got caught up in a somewhat similar situation, i.e., a sordid affair involving possible defalcations and perjury about the same. Although the mayor has been widely attacked and a movement is afoot to get him out of office, no big issue that I'm aware of was made about his race.
3.13.2008 6:20pm
PLR:
I tell people to make sure their kid gets a bar mitzvah, but does anybody ever listen to me?
3.13.2008 6:24pm
Kazinski:
We'll have to see how it all plays out. If Spitzer is charged, and a predominately Jewish jury aquits because the condom didn't fit, it could still be an issue.
3.13.2008 6:25pm
AK (mail):
This post is worthless. Absolutely nothing of value here.

An antisemitism defense would have gotten more traction a few decades ago? What makes you think that?

And how could you possibly know that had Spitzer been black, he would defend himself with the race card?

This is nothing but speculation without substance. You owe me four minutes of my life back.
3.13.2008 6:26pm
Struthius:
While I agree with you regarding the general tone of the media regarding this issue, at least one "pundit" --Anne Coulter-- has brought it up. I saw it via Jewish World Review, ironically. Her references are offputting. Examples:
"He lives at the perfect address (Fifth Avenue and 79th St.) with his perfect Harvard Law School-educated Southern Baptist wife — whose parents must be telling her they told her so right about now — and their three perfect daughters." . . .
" Dudley Do-Right is on tape in a white-knuckle negotiation with pimps about payment for a prostitute. (Let's just be thankful that there's no anti-Semitic expression for Jews haggling about money.)"

Since these comments appeared in an Ann Coulter column, your comment that anti-Semitism "has been reduced to relative insignificance" still holds true.
3.13.2008 6:27pm
Mike& (mail):
Very smart post!

As a testament to the "dog that didn't bark," I didn't even know Spitzer was a Jew.

It's pretty cool that someone's being a Jew is a non-issue for most of the public.
3.13.2008 6:29pm
Paul B:
Bender,

Check it out some more. The Mayor of Detroit has indeed made race an issue in his defense, although I think this will be a tough sell when all of the principals in the story are Black as is over 80% of the city's population.

Kinda hard to figure out how the KKK is behind all of his problems.
3.13.2008 6:29pm
wulak:
I think geography has a larger role than you acknowledge. A Jewish politician in New York, or black politicians in Detroit or the Deep South, or latino politicians in Miami or the border states all present different scenarios than a Jewish, black, or latino politician in Nebraska.
3.13.2008 6:36pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
An antisemitism defense would have gotten more traction a few decades ago? What makes you think that?
Have you heard of the Rosenbergs? However, there was only a very brief period, say from the late 40s to the late 60s, where this could be effective. Nowadays, few care, and before the 1940s, anti-Semitism would have been supported by too many to be an effective defense (look up, "Leo Frank")
3.13.2008 6:38pm
pete (mail) (www):
I'm with Mike. I didn't know he was Jewish until this post and its possible the people investigating him did not know either.

Being Jewish is a lot different than other ethnic/racial groups in that it is not obvious that most American Jews are Jewish just by looking at them, the way it is usually obvious that someone is white, asian, black etc.

With the mayor of Detroit I saw his picture on the story that appeared on Drudge a few days back and was able to tell he was black just by looking at the picture, besides the fact in the story he claims the attacks on him are racist because he is black.
3.13.2008 6:43pm
ALB:
Yeah, but his wife's religion is getting publicly mentioned as though being a Baptist from a small town in North Carolina left her unprepared and defenseless in a marriage to a man like Spitzer.
From FoxNews: "Silda Wall Spitzer, an Ivy League-educated Baptist Southern belle who married into one of New York's City's richest and most prominent families, grew up in Concord, N.C., the eldest daughter of a hospital administrator and a homemaker, according to the New York Post."

She seems to be a tough, intelligent woman: a Harvard Law-educated corporate lawyer at Skadden. Though it does seem she might be more religious than he, based on the fact that her religion is getting mentioned in these recent news articles while his isn't, it seems to be mentioned to cast her in the role of a Southern evangelical who couldn't control her man in big urbane New York. I'd instead argue that it's really hard for one person to prevent another from acting like a jerk (to use far too benign language).
3.13.2008 6:53pm
Kent G. Budge (mail) (www):
I didn't know, or particularly care, that Spitzer was a Jew. I agree that that's a good thing.

Still, no one could shut up about Romney being a Mormon, so we still have some ways to go.
3.13.2008 6:58pm
hawkins:
Its not as if it was a secret that Spitzer was a Jew. A lot was made of the fact that his father belongs to an all white private club (I believe comprised entirely of Jews of German/Austrian descent).

And I second Paul B., race has definitely been a big issue with Kilpatrick. Recently and throughout his entire term.
3.13.2008 6:59pm
Deoxy (mail):
When Sharpton, Jackson, et al, die of old age, and the significant portion of the black population that enables them FINDS THEIR FRICKING BRAINS and stops thinking every evil whitey is out to get them, things will get better.

Racism won't die until BOTH sides allow it to. When one side is benefitting from it (even if only in the short term, and primarily for certain leaders), well, that makes it hard to let go.
3.13.2008 7:01pm
ejo:
other than his name sounding jewish, has jewishness ever been an issue for Spitzer, other than the fact it might play well in NY? Further, no one would care or sympathize if he tried to argue he was picked on because of his religion. As to other minority politicians, I have found they play the race card more often than it is used against them-Kilpatrick, in Detroit, is dealing from the deck, Coleman Young, a prior black racist mayor, did just the same.
3.13.2008 7:02pm
OrinKerr:
Interesting article on Spitzer and the Jewish community here.
3.13.2008 7:09pm
logoo:
The dog did bark. Prosecuted the Holocaust Industry.

Perhaps, there is some truth to David Irving's comment, that it is "payback time for a moser"?
3.13.2008 7:12pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Had an equally prominent black or Hispanic politician landed in the same kind of fix as Spitzer, it is highly likely that his race would be a major part of the discussion.

Blacks and Hispanics have a much higher crime rate than Jews. American blacks are about 6% of the population yet they are at least 40% of the prison inmates. Data from the National Crime Victimization survey also shows that blacks and Hispanics commit crimes far out of proportion to their fraction of the population. Whenever a prominent black or Hispanic gets caught it plays into the stereotype. Look at the Wesley Snipes tax evasion case. He certainly played the race card in this one.
Snipes, who was hit with six felonies for failing to file between 1999-2004, contends that the half-dozen counts were "impermissibly brought on the basis of Mr. Snipes' race" and should be "dismissed based on selective prosecution."
With this kind of behavior is it any wonder that race enters into the discussion. Compare and contrast to Jew who get caught.
3.13.2008 7:12pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Interesting article on Spitzer and the Jewish community here.

Well, sure they acknowledge him, even if he didn't acknowledge them. The Greek-American community is proud of Jennifer Aniston, though few others would realize she had Greek ancestry.
3.13.2008 7:20pm
Houston Lawyer:
While many posters didn't know he was a Jew (I didn't), they did know that he was a monumental ass. He'd probably get a lot more flack for his religion on this site if he were a devout Christian of whatever flavor.
3.13.2008 7:24pm
Guest 3.13.08:
Bender, Paul B. is right that the Mayor of Detroit is playing the race card--

http://www.newsweek.com/id/123035
3.13.2008 7:27pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Re the article Orin linked to:
But to his Jewish supporters, Spitzer's brand of Jewishness lay not in a narrow identification but in the universal values he espoused. It was the collapse of those values that made the final heartbreak so painful.
This brings to mind Dennis Praeger's oft-heard lament that the religion of most American Jews is liberalism.
3.13.2008 7:37pm
Arkady:

Blacks and Hispanics have a much higher crime rate than Jews.



Yeah, but no real superstar criminals...Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Abe Reles...
3.13.2008 7:40pm
TRex (mail):
I did not know or care if Spitzer was Jewish either, but was taken aback by Alan Dershowitz immediately hitting the talking head news channels in passionate defense of Spitzer, with the outlandish argument that prostitution is a victimless crime.

Did Dershowitz jump to the defense of Spitzer because they both have Harvard ties, they are both democrats, or what?

Dershowitz quote from March 13 Huffington Post:

"In fact, while we are regularly among the first to identify and combat any sort of injustice or bigotry against other groups, many Jews are reluctant to stand up and make a fuss in our own self-defense."
3.13.2008 7:44pm
Waldensian (mail):

He'd probably get a lot more flack for his religion on this site if he were a devout Christian of whatever flavor.

Sure, play the victimized Christian card in a thread about Jews. :)

I assure you, my criticism of religion is equal opportunity. For example, I don't know what yours religion is, but if you have one, I'm pretty sure it has a number of unbelievably silly characteristics.
3.13.2008 7:45pm
Wugong:
"...acquits because the condom didn't fit."

Given his apparent preference for...um...less safe modes of intimacy, this is an unlikely defense.
3.13.2008 7:46pm
sbron:
Spitzer's committment to open borders (e.g. the driver's
license fiasco) is itself anti-Semitic, since many of
today's immigrants themselves have high degrees of anti-Semitism. I would not defend Spitzer just because he is Jewish, but the fact that his political views work
against Jewish interests doesn't help.

Of course, mass immigration without assimilation is
also anti-American. The American tradition of assimilation,
and underlying rejection of racial/ethnic/religious preferences minimized traditional
anti-Semitism beginning in the 1950s. Unfortunately, today's immigrants with demands, demands, demands for bilingual education, racial preferences and endless fussing over their identity is destroying the momentum of assimilation. Spitzer and most Democrats (and many Republicans) are directly responsible for this.
3.13.2008 7:47pm
OrinKerr:
sbron writes:
Spitzer's committment to open borders (e.g. the driver's license fiasco) is itself anti-Semitic, since many of today's immigrants themselves have high degrees of anti-Semitism. I would not defend Spitzer just because he is Jewish, but the fact that his political views work

against Jewish interests doesn't help.
This must be the most bizarre and illogical chain of "reasoning" I have ever read at the Volokh Conspiracy. If I understand the chain, Spitzer's position would help some people who are anti-Semitic, making the position itself anti-Semitic. I guess that explains why every doctor is an Anti-Semite, what with their helping to cure people who are anti-semitic and all.
3.13.2008 8:11pm
Michael B (mail):
I can't buy into this twenty or thirty years ago line, not for a sex scandal alone; especially so since Spitzer has been honest in the aftermath, without equivocating and making excuses (and wagging his finger), etc. That honesty and lack of equivocation, not to mention the resignation, won't gain him applause, but people can give that a measure of respect nonetheless.
3.13.2008 8:17pm
Colin (mail):
This must be the most bizarre and illogical chain of "reasoning" I have ever read at the Volokh Conspiracy.

You must be new here.
3.13.2008 8:19pm
W.A,S.P. (mail):
The only way that I would connect Spitzer to his ethnic and religious background is that without realizing he was Jewish, certain Yiddish words spontaneously came to me to describe him. Several that start with the letters P or S, for example.
3.13.2008 8:19pm
byomtov (mail):
certain Yiddish words spontaneously came to me to describe him. Several that start with the letters P or S, for example.

And that identify what he was thinking with.
3.13.2008 8:22pm
OrinKerr:
Colin,

Well, I don't think I'm new here, all things considered. But I should have said, "among the most" rather than "the most."
3.13.2008 8:26pm
Kazinski:
Orin,
I hope that is not what Sbron is saying. To truly not be anti-semite one must also be for the Kyoto treaty (Israel has coastline too), be against the Iraq war and for bombing Iran, oppose letting the Bush tax cuts expire, be for a foreclosure moratorium (lots of Jewish homeowners), be against a foreclosure moratorium (lots of Jewish bankers too).
3.13.2008 8:28pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Struthius:

Dudley Do-Right is on tape...

Actually, the man has an uncanny resemblance to Dick Dastardly.
3.13.2008 8:35pm
Colin (mail):
Orin,

Sorry, I was aiming for +5 Funny, not Insightful.
3.13.2008 8:40pm
Paul B:
This whole discussion is a bit silly in the context of New York politics. Way back in 1934, the gubernatorial race between Herbert Lehman and Robert Moses was an all Jewish affair.

I must say that in the absence of any religious content, obsessing about anti-Semitism seems to be one of the few core beliefs of non-Orthodox Jews. During the 2000 election, the local Jewish weekly here in the Bay Area could not publish a weekly issue without an article about what having a Jewish vice-presidential candidate on one of the major party tickets meant. As best I can tell, the non-Jewish voters cared less about this.
3.13.2008 8:44pm
KeithK (mail):
Orin,

Sorry, I was aiming for +5 Funny, not Insightful.


Would've been more funny if you hadn't "must be new here"-d a Conspirator. But I got a meta-laugh out of that!
3.13.2008 8:51pm
Colin (mail):
Would've been more funny if you hadn't "must be new here"-d a Conspirator.

I think it's funnier to "must be new here" a Conspirator. But I still haven't been modded up, so maybe not.
3.13.2008 9:02pm
michael Hall:
I don't, as Ilya does, see this incident as one involving "a crucial dog that didn't bark" because I don't view the point of Ilya's post as being particularly surprising. Do Jewish officials in the U.S. routinely claim that anti-Semitism is behind criticism/prosecution of them? I don't monitor this type of thing, but not that I recall, so this isn't a curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-nighttime thing.
3.13.2008 9:05pm
Gaius Marius:
Don't forget the Mayor of Los Angelos is Hispanic and he had an affair (I believe) with a local television reporter covering his campaign. However, his race did not appear to be an issue in MSM.
3.13.2008 9:18pm
Rod Blaine (mail):
> Sure, play the victimized Christian card in a thread about Jews. :)"

Ambiguous whether you mean "ethnically of Jewish ancestry" or "observant follower of Judaism". If the latter, then it would be comparable. If Spitzer had been an ultra-Orthodox who refused to shake hands with possibly menstruating women (etc), then his downfall would have some analogy with Swaggart and Haggard.

I, too, didn't pick him as Jewish previously. If pressed, woulda guessed "German surname, ie ethnically German". Of course, for those more familiar with eastern European Jews, some names in German are "Jewish" and others are "native German". As someone once patiently explained to me: "sitting" and "bull" are English words, but "Sitting Bull" is not an Englishman's name.
3.13.2008 9:40pm
Rod Blaine (mail):
> "but his wife's religion is getting publicly mentioned as though being a Baptist..."

"My house of worship contains fewer graven images than does your house of worship! Nya nya!"
3.13.2008 9:43pm
JakeM (mail):
Somin = ~Bernstein
3.13.2008 10:08pm
dizzy (mail):
Good post.
And the fact that Coulter & Dershowitz HAVE "barked" a bit about this is probably confirmation of it's marginality.

On the other hand, there has been some exasperation about an Israeli or two — a few hours after the initial annoucement —

Israeli twist in Spitzer scandal
Ron Kampeas Published: 03/10/2008

A fast-rising Democratic governor, an out-of-control sex drive and an Israeli enabler — it feels like deja vu all over again on the Hudson.
http://tinyurl.com/3xlac9
3.13.2008 10:30pm
Howard Wolfson (mail):
So, the fact that Spitzer got his head chopped off has nothing to do with the fact that he's Jewish?


This must be the most bizarre and illogical chain of "reasoning" I have ever read at the Volokh Conspiracy.


That's ok. Sbron works for the Hillary Clinton campaign. They don't need no stinkin' logic.
3.13.2008 10:41pm
Usually posting under a different name (mail):
So, how does the ethnicity of "Kristen"/Ashely enter into this calculation.

Her birth last name is "Youmans" and her nose seems to indicate she also has Jewish heritage.

I don't have any social science study to back me up. But there seems to be a tendency for men who "marry outside" to handle their mid-life crisis by straying "back to the root," base on personal observation.
3.13.2008 10:45pm
yankev (mail):

If Spitzer had been an ultra-Orthodox who refused to shake hands with possibly menstruating women (etc), then his downfall would have some analogy with Swaggart and Haggard.
Agreed, but it has nothing to do with menstruation, Rod. The idea that it has to do with menstruation is a common misconception, and one that I held before I became Orthodox. It has to do with respecting sexual boundaries and not creating situations that could lead to touching that is shall we say less appropriate. Orthodox men do not shake hands with post-menopausal women either, nor do post-menopausal Orthodox women shake hands with men.

One possible reason for the misconception -- Orthodox couples do not touch one another during the wife's period because intimimicy is prohibited during that time, and one thing can easily lead to another. (Strictly Orthodox couples do not touch in public at any time, so as not to advertise whether or not the wife is then having her period.) The reason, though, is so as not to create a temptation to illicit intimate contact. Since extra marital intimacy is always illicit, contact between the sexes is limited to one's spouse (in private, as above), parents or children.
3.13.2008 11:07pm
MarkField (mail):

Sorry, I was aiming for +5 Funny, not Insightful.


If it's any consolation, I laughed out loud.
3.14.2008 12:12am
Tony Tutins (mail):

Her birth last name is "Youmans" and her nose seems to indicate she also has Jewish heritage.

I don't have any social science study to back me up. But there seems to be a tendency for men who "marry outside" to handle their mid-life crisis by straying "back to the root,"


Unfortunately for this thesis, the surname "Youmans" has British origins, as a variant of "Yeomans". Googling shows Youmans are commonly Southerners and Baptists, suggesting that men who "marry outside" handle their mid-life crisis by straying back to younger versions of their current wives.
3.14.2008 12:29am
Sam Draper (mail):
As far as race having more of an impact than religion, it seems Obama's race is not an issue but his religion is becoming one.

Is there some stereotype that Jewish men are unfaithful? I hadn't heard that one. Adulterous politicians are not restricted to one religion; both Jewish governors and Baptist presidents do it. Maybe if Spitzer were doing something more stereotypically Jewish you would get more Jewish jokes.

As far as the country putting the bad old past behind us as far as religous bigotry, didn't the Mormon just get crucified?

I think the opposite is true of what was originally posted; critisizing someone's religion is much more acceptable that critisizing their race. Spitzer just got a pass because philandering has nothing to do with his religion. If he was running for President, you can bet his religion would be an issue.
3.14.2008 1:20am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
W.A,S.P. wrote:
The only way that I would connect Spitzer to his ethnic and religious background is that without realizing he was Jewish, certain Yiddish words spontaneously came to me to describe him. Several that start with the letters P or S, for example.

The one that occurs to me is a play on his name: Eliot Schvitzer--because that's what he's doing about now.

As a NYer, I've always known Spitzer is jewish, but never really had a sense for whether he is observant. Truth be told, I've probably seen more pictures of Rudy Giuliani wearing a yarmulke, than Spitzer. For all I know, Spitzer is non-religious.

In NY, the "jewish angle" to this story is basically a non-issue. The last remaining pocket of overt anti-semitism is not one that liberal Democrats care to acknowledge, much less address.
3.14.2008 2:16am
Dave N (mail):
Colin,

MarkField and I agree on very little--we do here. I also laughed out loud. Touche.
3.14.2008 3:14am
TGGP (mail) (www):
Considering how heavily armed our peasants are, the lack of pogroms in American history indicates to me that anti-Semitism was never as bad as racism towards blacks. Even italians had more mob violence directed at them.
3.14.2008 3:40am
Soccer Dad (mail) (www):
I was a little young when Marvin Mandel and some of his compatriots were convicted of mail fraud. (Mandel's conviction was eventually overturned.) I don't recall the much, if anything, was made of his Jewishness.
3.14.2008 9:23am
Tony Tutins (mail):
White Irish Catholic (non-practicing, I'm assuming) San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom seems to have suffered few lasting consequences from his brief affair with his Appointments Secretary -- who also happened to be the wife of his campaign manager and former chief of staff.

In my youth, the Jewishness of those involved in scandals was cited only to show that the mafia was an equal opportunity employer -- Allen Dorfman of the Central States Teamster Pension Fund, Teamster father-and-son executives Bill and Jackie Presser, etc.
3.14.2008 11:17am
astall22 (mail):
If the FBI and other government officials would go after Osama Bin Laden like they spend millions of dollars going after Eliot Spitzer it would be something really to discuss. We are spending tweleve billion dollars a month on a war which has no value nonewhatsoever. Bin Laden is responsible for the terroist attack 911. This administration goes after Sadam Hussain. What happen to Bin Laden. Why do some people forget so fast. We claim that we cannot find Osama but with advance techology anyone can be found in the dark!I am not justifying what Eliot Spitzer has done.
3.14.2008 11:21am
John425:
Spitzer's being Jewish is a non-issue but I am more aware that the MSM rarely lists him as a Democrat. Rest assured- had he been a Republican, it would be the lede sentence.
3.14.2008 1:04pm
Rabbi popping in:
The issue is that Spitzer is not visibly Jewish, as most Jews in American are not visibly Jewish. If he were a religious man, especially Chasidic, his Jewishness would have come up.
3.14.2008 2:52pm
David M (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/14/2008 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
3.14.2008 3:31pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Maybe the issue is that sex scandals are not part of a stereotype about Jewish men in politics (as opposed to men in politics generally).

Nick
3.14.2008 3:35pm
A.C.:
If he were Chasidic, he would not have been governor of New York in the first place.
3.14.2008 4:32pm
Jack D (mail):
1. Spitzer is only nominally Jewish - he did not have a bar mitzvah. He apparently attends church with his Goyish wife and Goyish children.

http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-kids0312,0,1434668.story

He is only a "Jew" in the Nazi racialist sense, although his parent's emphasis on education and success were echoes of their former Jewish culture.

2. Dershowitz sprang to Spitzer's defense because he has a close personal relationship, not because they are landsmen. Spitzer worked for Dershowitz in law school helping on the von Bulow case. His character appears in the movie as a female.

3. Anti-Semitism is not the full time obsession in the US that it was/is say in Russia or other parts of Europe. In the US blacks have always played the major role as the "other". While there have been periods of mild anti-semitism in the US, the total body count for all of US history is extremely low, vs. millions in Europe. While there still hasn't been a Jewish president, there are lots of Jewish congressmen, senators, etc. and nobody seems to think twice about it anymore. As the others have mentioned, the fact that Jews are not immediately identifiable by appearance in our very mixed race society helps (plus most Americans don't have the finely tuned Jewdar that say Russians have - they don't care if you are Jewish so they don't hunt your face or name for clues in most cases). Some voters might be aware that Spitzer was Jewish or Cuomo Italian or Dukakis Greek but it doesn't really influence their decision one way or the other, especially in a state like NY.
3.14.2008 4:52pm
Rich Klein (mail) (www):
Your point is well taken, except that the shameful New York Post described Spitzer as "penny pinching", an age-old anti-Semitic stereotype.
3.15.2008 10:37pm